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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 205 Live Report! (4/24/18)

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Tonight, one man will earn the opportunity at Cedric Alexander’s Cruiserweight Championship in Saudi Arabia! But only by getting through a Gauntlet Match! Will it be a former champion like Kalisto or TJP, or a first-time hopeful like Drew Gulak, Tony Nese or Mustafa Ali that stands tall at the end?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contenders Gaunlet Match: Kalisto wins and will face Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

PLAY BY PLAY

Drake Maverick outlines tonight’s Gauntlet Match.

Only five of the best superstars on the 205 Live roster will compete in “the most grueling” match for a chance at the Cruiserweight Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Drew Gulak vows to continue his quest for a #Better205Live. He will defeat any and all opponents and make them tap out. Tony Nese knows Gauntlets require stamina, which is perfect for the Premier Athlete. Kalisto says he’ll take that first step towards being a two-time champion! Inaugural champion TJP says he could “get up of the couch” and make the best tap out. No one will stop “The Best of All Time” from bringing the title back to where it all began. Mustafa Ali knows he was close to being Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania. No matter the hand he’s dealt, he won’t fold. One of these five will survive the Gauntlet, who will meet Cedric Alexander in Saudi Arabia?

 

WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contenders Gaunlet Match!

Buddy Murphy would have been #1 Contender already if not for both his sneak attack on the champion, and not making weight to be part of the Cruiserweight Division. However, his loss will be someone else’s gain. This Gauntlet is going to go all night, and by the end, we will have a challenger for Cedric Alexander! First up are…

Mustafa Ali! The Beacon of Light draws Number One but that doesn’t bother him. Ali will go for as long as it takes to earn another Cruiserweight Championship match.

His opponent will be… TJP! The “Cruiser-Great” and inaugural (New Era) Cruiserweight Champion is Number Two, is it already game over for Ali?

TJP already trash talks Ali as he makes his way into the ring. He clearly feels he should’ve just been made the #1 contender, but he doesn’t mind showing why he deserves that right. The bell rings and we begin.

Mustafa Ali VS TJP!

The two circle, then tie up. TJP puts Ali on the ropes but he honors the break with a dab. Ali doesn’t like the swagger, so he wrenches TJP’s arm. He wrenches and brings TJP down but TJP stands back up, to then roll and reverse to a drop toehold. TJP puts Ali in a facelock and loops an arm for the float over, TWO. Ali arm-drags TJP down to an armlock. TJP spins again to whip, but Ali wrenches TJP’s arm again. Ali puts TJP back in the armlock, but TJP pulls hair. He puts Ali in a corner then whips corner to corner, but Ali goes up and over. Ali handsprings back but only to run into TJP’s shoulder.

TJP runs and things speed up, TJP catches Ali into a dragon’s lair pin! ONE into Ali’s crucifix, ONE to TJP’s standard cover, ONE again. Ali sweeps TJP’s legs for another cover, ONE and TJP returns the favor. ONE as Ali bridges out and runs. He cartwheels over TJP, TJP sunset flips but Ali rolls through. TJP guards when Ali shows a punch, so Ali rolls behind him. TJP doesn’t know where Ali went, until Ali dropkicks him in the back! Fans applaud and Ali dabs to mock TJP. TJP gets mad and kicks, but Ali blocks to give a kick of his own! TJP falls out of the ring but hurries back in, only to run into Ali’s flapjack dropkick. This sends TJP back out, and he decides to stay out when he sees Ali ready to strike.

Fans boo and jeer while TJP catches his breath. The referee counts and Ali waits for TJP. Ali stops waiting and slips out to go after TJP. TJP slips back in but Ali grabs his foot. TJP uses that to hotshot Ali into the ropes! Then he wraps Ali up in a rope-assisted Octopus Stretch!

Ali shouts in pain while the referee counts. TJP lets go at 3, but then he hits Ali with a wrecking ball dropkick! Ali falls to the floor, but TJP drags him back up into the ring. Cover, TWO, but TJP keeps his cool. He brings Ali up while Dasha Fuentes interviews Cedric Alexander backstage.

She knows the Cruiserweight Champion is paying close attention to this Gauntlet match, because he’ll be defending his title against the winner this Friday. But is Buddy Murphy and that ambush of his still on Alexander’s mind? Alexander says Murphy made a statement with that attack, but he also made “the biggest mistake” when he couldn’t make weight. When Murphy does return, Alexander promises to make a statement of his own. But of course, Murphy’s loss makes for “a hell of an opportunity” for the five men in the Gauntlet. If the winner of this match brings their A Game at Greatest Royal Rumble, then Alexander has his work cut out for him. But this is the #AgeofAlexander, he’ll be ready.

While the interview happens, TJP puts Ali in a corner and grinds a boot into Ali’s throat. TJP backs off at the ref’s count, but toys with Ali. He snapmares Ali and hits the slingshot senton, then covers. ONE, but TJP keeps on Ali with a half-surfboard stretch. Ali endures while fans build to a rally. Ali stands up and works to turn TJP, but TJP turns Ali back to bring him to his knees. TJP shifts from surfboard to straitjacket, and bends Ali all the way back against his knees. Ali endures while fans rally again, and rolls over to make it a double wristlock cover. TWO, and TJP yanks Ali into the ropes! Ali snaps back into TJP’s Russian leg sweep and prawn hold cover. TWO, but TJP turns that into a Koji clutch!

Ali endures again while fans rally. He rolls TJP as best he can, but TJP breaks the hold. Ali hits back, giving TJP both an overhand and backhand chop. TJP hits back with a spinning back kick, then whips Ali into a corner. Ali goes up and over then runs, throwing TJP with a headscissors. Ali rallies on TJP, whips but TJP reverses to send him into a corner. TJP runs in but Ali slips out to the apron, and he hits back with a roundhouse. TJP staggers while fans fire up. Ali slingshots in, somersault facebuster! Cover, TWO!

Ali keeps his cool, and stands up over TJP. He brings TJP up for a suplex but TJP slips out. TJP shoves Ali to a corner and Ali bounces off buckles. Ali staggers back into TJP’s double chickenwing, but Ali reverses the Dodon Buster into a victory roll! TWO, and TJP gets to a corner. TJP goes up and over but Ali side steps, only to run into TJP’s back elbow. TJP hops up but Ali rocks him with a palm strike. Ali climbs up to join TJP, but TJP pushes him away! Ali lands on his feet, but TJP’s missile dropkick goes after the knee, flipping Ali onto his back. TJP grabs Ali for the Kneebar!

TJP gets the grapevine! Ali endures while fans rally. He reaches for the ropes as he shouts in pain. He drags himself and TJP over and gets the ropebreak. Fans cheer the heart of the Heart of 205 Live, but TJP holds on until 4 in the count. TJP grabs Ali’s leg but Ali holds onto the ropes, even as Ali stands back up. TJP yanks Ali off the ropes but Ali fights back with haymakers, so TJP carries Ali into a corner! Ali clubs TJP to get him off his leg, and TJP staggers away. TJP runs in and blocks Ali’s boot to go back after the bad leg, but Ali shoves him away with the good leg. Ali hops up and launches himself for a flying tornado DDT! Fans applaud while Ali crawls over. He positions TJP then climbs up top, for the 0-5-4!

It hits, Ali covers, he eliminates TJP!

Elimination: TJP

The “Cruiser-Great” is done for the night, but this was just the beginning for the Beacon of Light. Ali has only minutes to rest before his next opponent comes out. Number Three into the Gauntlet is… A familiar foe, in Drew Gulak!

Mustafa Ali VS Drew Gulak!

Ali knows all too well how Gulak loves to torture an opponent’s joints and his knee is an easy target. Will the self-proclaimed BEST submission specialist in all of the WWE grind Ali into dust?

Gulak taunts Ali as he hobbles around, cornering Ali as he goes for the leg. Ali dodges and rolls Gulak up, TWO, but Ali keeps on Gulak with clubbing forearms. Gulak powers Ali up and throws him legs first at the ropes! Ali rolls out of the ring, clutching his bad leg. Gulak won’t give him time to recover as he goes out to fetch him, but he still walks into Ali’s drop toehold! Gulak hits the ground and both men are down as the referee counts. Ali manages to stand up and put Gulak back in the ring. He climbs up but Gulak goes to intercept, onto to get punched away. Ali leaps for the crossbody! But Gulak rolls through to a Half Crab! He works to turn Ali but Ali pushes him away.

Gulak runs back but into a small package, TWO, and Gulak clobbers Ali with a clothesline! Cover, TWO, but Gulak grins as he looms over the exhausted Ali. Gulak drags Ali around by that bad leg, and stomps it every so often. Ali writhes in pain, but Gulak keeps going as he puts Ali’s leg on the rope and stands on it. Gulak’s weight bends that knee a bad way, and even tortures the ankle. We go picture in picture for a Greatest Royal Rumble plug while Gulak drags Ali up for a chop. Ali falls back, Gulak sits him up and pulls on that bad leg. Gulak grinds a forearm into Ali’s face while stretching that leg all the way back.

Ali endures, and reaches up to claw at Gulak’s face. Ali pops out of the hold and fights back with body shots. Gulak chops back, then shoves Ali to flapjack him on the rebound. Ali’s leg takes part of the hit, Gulak covers, TWO. Gulak stays on that leg with the knee wrench. He shouts for Ali to give up, then drops an elbow before he grapevines the knee wrench. Gulak digs his elbow into Ali’s knee while he again shouts for Ali to give up. Ali endures the pain while keeping this from becoming a cover. The fans rally, and Ali fights back with haymakers. Gulak keeps on the knee but Ali clubs away, so Gulak shifts to stomping that leg. Gulak then dragon screws the leg, and Ali writhes again. Cover, TWO, but Gulak keeps his cool.

Gulak drags Ali up but Ali hits back with body shots and forearms. Ali gives more forearms, but Gulak scoops him. Ali slips out and shoves Gulak to ropes, but Gulak catches Ali’s huricanrana and turns it into a Half Crab! Gulak drags Ali away from the ropes, so Ali is stranded as he endures the pain. Ali manages to roll but Gulak rolls him back. Ali stands up and enziguris Gulak down! Fans rally while Ali gets to a corner. Ali drags himself up with the ropes, Gulak runs in, but Ali slips out and roundhouse kicks him away. Fans fire up and Ali rolls in, but Gulak counters the facebuster into a powerbomb! Matchbox cover, TWO, but Gulak puts the Half Crab back on. Ali endures the pain all over again as Gulak sits all the way down. Gulak tortures Ali by adding in an armlock!

This crab is part Bow ‘n’ Arrow, but Ali does not give up. Fans rally and Ali fights for the ropes. He reaches, and gets the break! Gulak lets go while the fans applaud, he’s growing frustrated. But Gulak keeps on Ali, dragging him up again to bounce him off buckles. Gulak asks Ali if he’s “had enough”, but when Ali doesn’t answer, he bounces Ali off more buckles. Gulak knows Ali likes flying, so he puts Ali on the top rope. He uses the top rope to wrench that bad knee, but Ali ear-claps Gulak back! Ali adjusts while Gulak steadies himself. Ali bumps Gulak off buckles now, then drags him back up for a hangman’s half crab!

Gulak gets a taste of his own medicine, but lets go at the ref’s count of 4. Gulak tumbles out of the ring and to the floor. Ali adjusts, but Gulak is upon him already. Ali punches Gulak back down to then FLY!

Down goes Gulak! Fans chant for Ali while he clutches his leg. Ali drags Gulak up and into the ring, but Gulak is ready, he chop blocks the leg out! Ali collapses, and Gulak drags him back up for the dragon sleeper, but Ali slips around to roll Gulak! TWO, but Ali uses the momentum to hop up and jump back for another flying tornado DDT! Gulak flounders into a drop zone, and Ali hurries back up top. That bad leg slows him down, and then it gives out. Ali still tries, but Gulak springs up to shove Ali off! Ali hits the steel steps on the way down!

The referee checks on Ali, but he is out. Gulak doesn’t care, he drags Ali up and into the ring. He doesn’t go for a cover, either, but for the GuLOCK!

The referee has no choice, he has to call it. Gulak eliminates an unconscious Ali.

Elimination: Mustafa Ali

Fans boo and jeer but Gulak wants his hand raised in victory. He hasn’t won the Gauntlet yet, but he does have some revenge, because he eliminated the man who eliminated him in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. However, Number Four in the Gauntlet is… TONY NESE!

Drew Gulak VS Tony Nese!

The Premier Athlete skips the self-indulging and storms his way right down to the ring. Gulak got his payback, can Nese get his?

Gulak rushes Nese the second he’s in the ring but Nese is ready! Nese takes Gulak down and hammers away with left hands! Gulak gets away but only for a moment as Nese drags him back in and stomps him out. Nese doesn’t let up, he drags Gulak up and puts him in a corner for body shots. Nese whips corner to corner and then back drops Gulak! The Premier Athlete fires up and stomps Gulak more. He drags Gulak up but Gulak hits back with body shots and chops of his own. Gulak swings but Nese handsprings to evade, then mule kicks Gulak. Nese hits a knee lift to roundhouse to leg sweep, but Gulak rolls out of the ring. That doesn’t stop Nese, Nese runs and FLIES!

Down goes Gulak again, and the fans fire up with Nese. Nese says Gulak wanted this, then he throws Gulak into barriers. He drags Gulak back up and throws him into more barriers. Nese resets the ring count, then fetches Gulak. He puts Gulak against the apron to give him a sharp chop. Nese gives Gulak more chops as he says Gulak started this when he turned on Nese months ago. Nese then takes aim, and throws Gulak over the announce table, right into Vic’s chair. Fans want “One More Time!” Nese resets the count first, then drags Gulak up to his feet. Nese backs up, and throws Gulak into the side of the announce desk now.

Fans still want more, but the referee insists they bring this back to the ring. Nese obeys, and puts Gulak in the ring. He drags Gulak up, daring him to keep fighting. Gulak hits back, so Nese runs him over! Nese stomps Gulak more, roaring with rage. He drags Gulak up, but Gulak throws Nese out to the apron. Nese wobbles, but he avoids Gulak to kick him back. Gulak falls down and Nese goes to a corner, and he springboards for the triangle moonsault! Gulak gets out of the ring but Nese lands on his feet, to then slide out and rock Gulak with a roaring left forearm! Fans fire up for Nese as he drags Gulak up and into the ring again.

Nese toys with Gulak a bit, then sits him up in the corner. While Nese says Gulak isn’t on Nese’s level, Gulak grabs Nese’s beard! Nese stomps a mudhole into Gulak in return, then runs for the Premier Kneese!

Nese drags Gulak out of the corner, but that’s not enough for Nese. He puts Gulak back in the corner, and brings down the knee pad. Nese says Gulak deserves this, then he runs, but Gulak evades! No second Premier Kneese, but there is a second GuLOCK!

Gulak has Nese trapped! Nese flails, then taps!

Elimination: Tony Nese

Gulak lets him go, and Nese shouts in frustration. Nese’s thirst for vengeance got the better of him, and now he’s out of the Gauntlet match! The fans rub it in by chanting “You Tapped Out!” as he makes his exit. But now we know who is the last man into the Gauntlet: KALISTO!

Drew Gulak VS Kalisto!

The Lucha Dragon is a former Cruiserweight Champion, and is in the best position to win. Will he keep his focus and bring the #LuchaHouseParty to Saudi Arabia?

Kalisto rushes the ring but Gulak slips out. Gulak rests against the announce desk, but Kalisto wants to get going. The fans chant “Lucha! Lucha!” with Kalisto while Gulak clears his head. Kalisto dares Gulak to get back in, and Gulak does, at his own pace. Kalisto rushes him again, and Gulak slips out of the ring again. Gulak walks around the ring while the referee keeps Kalisto in it. Gulak lets the ring count climb to 6 while he recovers. He returns at 7, but then slips back out the second Kalisto runs at him. Fans boo and jeer but Gulak doesn’t care. Gulak slides in but then back out, continuing to frustrate Kalisto.

Gulak returns this time, and now he rushes Kalisto, but Kalisto’s ready with a dropkick! Kalisto follows Gulak out this time to keep the fight going. He Listo kicks Gulak against the barriers! Fans echo “Lucha! Lucha!” while Kalisto stands Gulak up for another Listo kick. Kalisto reenters the ring then dropkicks Gulak back down, then builds speed to DIVE! But Gulak turns it into a slam!

Kalisto crashes and burns into barriers while Gulak gets away. Gulak rests against the LED apron while the referee checks on Kalisto. Kalisto is okay to continue, so a new ring count begins. Gulak leaves Kalisto to the mercy of the count while Dasha Fuentes interviews Tony Nese.

The Premier Athlete is clearly furious, how does he rebound from this? He has no words, and simply leaves, seething. Meanwhile, the count climbs, and Kalisto finally stirs. Kalisto beats the count at 9.5! Gulak keeps on him with elbows to the head, and he even rips the tail of Kalisto’s mask. Gulak stomps on Kalisto, showing neither respect nor mercy to the luchador. He rakes at the mask’s eyes, then puts Kalisto in the dragon sleeper. Kalisto slips out and gets to the ropes for safety. Gulak stalks Kalisto, then drags him up again. Gulak snap suplexes Kalisto, covers, TWO. But Gulak isn’t frustrated, he just grins and laughs it off. He stomps Kalisto and then clubs away with crossface forearms. He forces Kalisto down to a cover, ONE, so Gulak puts a chinlock on.

Kalisto endures, and fans rally with “Lucha! Lucha!” chants. Kalisto fights up and out with body shots, but Gulak knees low. Gulak walks into Kalisto’s boot, then Kalisto spins things around to headscissor throw Gulak down. Gulak gets to a corner then side steps, but Kalisto responds with a SUPERKICK! Kalisto hops up for a tornado DDT, but Gulak blocks that to hang Kalisto up on the ropes. Kalisto bounces off and down, and Gulak gets a third GuLOCK!

Kailsto flails and reaches with his legs, so Gulak drags him up. Gulak lifts Kalisto, but can’t get Kalisto up. He keeps trying, but Kalisto uses that to sling Gulak forward into buckles! Gulak is dazed, Kalisto stands up, and hits the Salida Del Sol!

Cover, Kalisto wins!!

Winner: Kalisto, by pinfall

The Lucha Dragon wins the Gauntlet! He will face Cedric Alexander at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the Cruiserweight Championship! And to join in on the celebration, it’s the rest of Lucha House Party, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik.

And speaking of the Cruiserweight Champion, Cedric Alexander is still here, and he makes his way out on stage.

The Soul of 205 Live applauds for Kalisto, but he signals that he won’t give the belt up so easily. Lucha House Party is confident their leader will bring the Cruiserweight Championship back from Saudi Arabia, will the #AgeOfAlexander end already?

 


 

My Thoughts:

An incredible night of action, and it was all in one match! The Cruiserweight Division has been on a hot streak ever since January and there’s no signs of slowing down. Just about everything in this was spot on, especially with the action. Ali and TJP starting was a great combination, and with Ali going over, it makes you think he might pull off the miracle of lasting the entire night. However, it feeds his title chase story to go down in the second round. Gulak really builds his aggressive Heel points with going for submission over pin. It also perfectly works towards story that Nese only fails because he wanted to punish Gulak over beat him.

For a moment, I thought Gulak would win it all, but eliminating three men would be too much too soon for him. But since Nese’s revenge is still unsatisfied, they can continue their rivalry instead. Kalisto wins as the last man so that it doesn’t really hurt Gulak’s rankings. The Greatest Royal Rumble is partially filler when it comes to the Cruiserweight Championship, so Kalisto is the choice for the best in-ring action without doing any real harm when Alexander retains. The real title program will be Alexander VS Murphy at Backlash, as Murphy could easily return as soon as next week.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (4/24/18)

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Daniel Bryan and The Miz are finally on the same brand again! As such, the Hollywood A-Lister will have the Goat on the SmackDown premiere of Miz TV. Will these two be able to keep from fighting this close to the Greatest Royal Rumble? Plus, Charlotte and Carmella will sign the contract for their Backlash rematch!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Asuka & Becky Lynch VS The IIconics; The IIconics win.
  • Jimmy Uso w/ Jey VS Rowan w/ Harper; Jimmy Uso wins.
  • Jeff Hardy VS Shelton Benjamin; rescheduled as…
  • Randy Orton VS Shelton Benjamin; Benjamin wins.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English VS AJ Styles & The Good Brothers; Nakamura, Rusev & English win.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE and SmackDown dedicate tonight to Bruno Sammartino.

 

It’s the SmackDown premiere of Miz TV!

The Hollywood A-Lister comes to the Blue Brand because of the Superstar Shake-Up and special request of former General Manager, Daniel Bryan. Miz also looks to take back the Intercontinental Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble this Friday in the Fatal 4 Way Ladder Match. But as for tonight in Louisville, he shushes them before demanding they welcome him back! Then he begins the Most Must-See WWE Talk Show properly and declares he makes SmackDown THE Show, but “there’s something missing.” That’s the title he held, that his guest gave up three years ago and Miz vows to win for a record ninth time when he defeats Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. That title is THE most coveted title in all of the WWE thanks to Miz!

But that’s Friday. Tonight is Tuesday, and this is the moment the world’s been waiting for. Tonight’s guest is a man who threatened to punch Miz in the face. Fans like the sound of that. Miz blames this man for getting Talking Smack cancelled, and then demanded Miz be brought to SmackDown just to get his hands on him. “And quite frankly, I’m surprised.” Miz welcomed his first child into the world, and locking eyes with her for the first time, he knew he had to be a better man. All of Miz’s anger and bitterness towards Daniel Bryan “melted away”. Odd that Bryan isn’t the same after his daughter was born.

But Bryan and Miz still have a lot in common, from being fathers to being television stars to being “masterful, in-ring technicians”. But a major difference: Miz has changed to be a better man. If Bryan still wants to punch him, then he can come on out and do it. Miz and Louisville both want Bryan to come out and do it, but Bryan doesn’t appear. Instead, Big Cass appears!

The Human Skyscraper walks out, dressed in a fresh new suit, and enters the ring. Miz asks what Cass is here for. There’s no guest, so Cass volunteered to be the guest. They take a seat, and Miz says he was going to interview Daniel Bryan. Cass says no one cares about Bryan. Cass got injured and worked 24-7 to get back asap. The day he does, so does Daniel Bryan. But all anyone cares about is “Daniel Bryan this, Daniel Bryan that.” No one cared about Cass! Cass lives in the shadow of an “ordinary little man”. Miz understands Cass is mad, but if he’s trying to help with Bryan, Miz doesn’t need it. Cass tells Miz that “not everything is about you”.

Miz takes offense to that. Does Cass know who he is? Miz is a Grand Slam Champion, first-ballot Hall of Famer, and has main-evented ‘Mania! Wrestling is a what-have-you-done-lately business, and all Cass has done is hobble around! Then maybe Cass should shut Miz’s mouth. Fans would like to see that. Miz says this isn’t about them, this is about Dnaiel Bryan. Damn right! That average Joe who should be laying tile or taking out trash, Bryan is out here spewing trash to the fans. Reach for the stars, achieve dreams, but too bad, because “you are all a bunch of Joe Schmoes.” Cass used to be small and pathetic and weak, “it sucks!” He was bullied and pushed around, until he got sick and tired of it. Cass grew and grew, to be 7 foot tall and someone who beat up those who got him.

Bryan reminds Cass of his weak former self, that’s why Cass hates him! But Cass didn’t need to go to indies, to Japan, to Europe, and you know why? Because Cass is tall, smart and handsome. That makes Cass valuable, a star, and makes him money! Yet, he’s in the shadow of Daniel Bryan? “Not for long.” Cass will make sure Bryan goes back to where he belongs: “on the shelf, beaten, battered, bruised, and retired.” Bryan will never cast a shadow over anyone again. Cass mocks “Yes! Yes!” then drops the mic. The big man had big words for the little Goat, will he be able to back it up should he and Bryan meet in the ring?

 

Speaking of Daniel Bryan…

He’s been attacked! The former GM and champion is down, in need of medics and trainers. Will he be okay to compete? And who attacked him? Though, it might not be that hard to guess…

 

Asuka & Becky Lynch VS The IIconics!

Peyton Royce & Billie Kay may have cost Charlotte Flair her SmackDown Women’s Championship, but the Queen is busy going after her throne. That leaves the Empress and the Lass Kicker to take care of the Iconic Duo for her. Will Peyton & Billie have a #TrulyIIconic in-ring debut? Or are they not ready for Asuka and Straight Fire?

Before the match, the IIconics praise themselves for their looks. The camera loves Billie. No it loves Peyton. It loves both of them! But Becky stuck her nose where it doesn’t belong. Peyton impersonates Becky now, “Where are my lucky charms?” Spot on again! But then she teams with the nosy Empress of Tomorrow. Tomorrow? Fact check: if Charlotte beat Asuka and took the Undefeated Streak, and then the IIconics ended the Queen’s title reign, that makes them better than Asuka!

Science and math, it just makes sense. Empress of Tomorrow is now the Empress of Yesterday. Peyton & Billie are the future, but the future is interrupted!

The match begins with picture in picture as Asuka starts against Billie. Asuka has the fans on her side as they circle and tie up. Asuka wrenches Billie’s arm but Billie stomps a foot to then reverse the wrench. However, Asuka uses the ropes to acrobatically reverse back. Billie pulls Asuka’s hair but Asuka snapmares. Billie gest away, but narrowly avoids the roundhouse! Asuka teases her, to then hip attack! Asuka taunts Peyton then yansk on Billie’s arm. She brings Billie over and tags in Becky, Becky climbs up for teh ax handle. Becky kicks Billie then knocks her down with a calf kick. Billie bails out while Becky and Asuka fire up. Becky goes to the apron and hits Billie with a forearm, but Peyton comes over to attack. Becky bounces her off the apron, and then Asuka adds a sliding knee!

Asuka high fives Becky before Becky puts Billie back in the ring. Billie drops an elbow but misses, Becky waistlocks. Billie bucks Becky off and runs her over, but Becky arm-drags her back. Becky has Billie in the armlock, and even gives her a noogey. Tag to Asuka and Asuka kicks away at the leg. Asuka mule kicks but Billie grabs shorts to then yank Asuka down by her hair! Billie tags Peyton and Peyton keeps on Asuka. She slaps Asuka but that only riles Asuka up. Asuka grins but Peyton is afraid, and she should be, as Asuka unleashes strikes. Peyton reverses the whip but Asuka hits with the hip attack! We return to single picture as Asuka tags Becky back in.

Becky grabs Peyton but Peyton throws her down by her hair. Cover but Becky slips uot for teh Oklahoma roll, TWO. Becky kicks Peyton and whips but Peyton reverses again. Becky dodges to knock Peyton down with a forearm. Fans fire up for Becky, Becky misses her forearm in the corner but still gets the jump kick. She throws Peyton with a Becksploder! Peyton tags Billie but Billie runs into the drop toehold. Becky drags Billie up but Billie throws Becky down with an arm wringer. Billie chokes Becky at the ropes, then Peyton gets a cheap shot! Cover, ONE, but BIllie tags in. The IIconics work together on Becky’s arm, using the ref’s count to their advantage. Tag back to Billie while fans rally for Becky. The IIconics isolate Becky and put her in an armlock, but fans rally for the former champion.

Becky reaches while enduring a new armlock. She gets up but Billie knees low to whip her back into the IIconic corner. Billie taunts Asuka, but Becky boots her away. Becky fights out of the corner, double clotheslines bring Becky and Billie down. Fans rally again, hot tags to Peyton and Asuka! Asuka rallies with hip attack to Billie then a dropkick Peyton! She keeps going, blocking Peyton’s kick into an ankle lock! Peyton hops to Billie, but Becky breaks them up, then Asuka throws Peyton with a German Suplex!

Asuka runs to hip attack Peyton again. Tag to Becky, Becky and Asuka double whip Peyton for double hip toss, sliding enziguri and leg drop! Billie returns but then runs away, so Becky brings Peyton up. Peyton shoves Becky into Asuka, but Becky fights back with forearms and uppercuts. Becky whips corner to corner but Peyton puts her on the apron. Becky fights both IIconics off, but Peyton still sends her into the post. Roll up AND ropes, the IIconcis win!

Winners: The IIconics (Peyton & Billie), Peyton pinning

An #IIconicUpset with this win! The best friends from down under bring down two great former champions, will there be something great in the future for “the future”?

 

Backstage interview with AJ Styles.

Renee Young sees he’s in a good mood. Well why wouldn’t he be? Three days from The Greatest Royal Rumble and a rematch with Shinsuke Nakamura. But for right now, he’s happy because Shane McMahon gave him the chance to soften Nakamura up. Though, the con artist has Rusev Day backing him up. Is it a handicap match? No, Styles is lucky to have back-up of his own. Who? Oh, it’ll be #TooSweet. A major main event has been made, and it shouldn’t be too hard to guess who the Phenomenal One will have on his side.

 

Zelina Vega & Andrade “Cien” Almas speak.

“This is the only brand we’re worried about.” El Idolo, a third generation superstar and a former NXT Champion, Almas has the talent while Vega has the schemes. And Vega vows he will show the world why he deserves the spotlight.

 

The Usos talk backstage.

They’re preparing for a return from last week, but Naomi comes in to talk with her husband. Before she says anything, Jimmy wants her to promise she won’t end up ringside like last week. She is not, and she will not apologize, either. She was genuinely concerned. But does she trust him? Yes, of course. She loves him, but she saw “nothing” in the eyes of Harper & Rowan.

This may be their life, but Naomi has a bad feeling, and wants him to trust her. He knows, but don’t worry, Jey has his back both tonight and Friday. Jimmy says he’ll take care of Rowan, and gives Naomi a kiss for good luck. Will luck be enough going up against the Bludgeon Brothers?

 

Jimmy Uso w/ Jey VS Rowan w/ Harper!

As Jimmy told Naomi, he and his brother will take on these Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in Saudi Arabia. Tonight is about gaining momentum towards that match, but will Jimmy end up coming to a screeching halt running into the Red Lamb of Doom?

The bell rings and Rowan dropkicks Jimmy down! Rowan clubs him down, then headbutts him down. Rowan chokes Jimmy against the ropes, Harper gets a cheap shot in! Jimmy is thrown to the apron while Jey goes after Harper, but misses his flying attack. Harper boots Jey down, but Jimmy dumps Rowan out. Jimmy builds speed and DIVES, but Rowan catches him to then scoop him. Jimmy slips out to put Rowan into the post! Rowan staggers and Jimmy climbs up, flying crossbody! Cover, TWO! Jimmy mule kicks and climbs up again, but Rowan shoves him off! Jimmy hits barriers face first. Rowan rolls out and comes around the corner to run Jimmy over! Rowan roars while fans boo and jeer.

The ref counts, Rowan puts Jimmy in the ring at 4. Rowan himself returns and drags Jimmy up. Fans rally for the Usos, but Rowan scoops Jimmy again. Naomi comes out in full entrance! Her #GlowTime distracts Harper & Rowan, SUPERKICK from Jey to Harper! Jey puts Harper into steel steps, and Jimmy dropkicks Rowan! Jimmy rolls him up, Jimmy wins!

Winner: Jimmy Uso by pinfall

Now the Usos can thank Naomi for helping even the score! However, Naomi won’t be in Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble. Will the Usos be able to survive when they have only themselves against the Bludgeon Brothers?

 

Renee Young presides over the SmackDown Women’s Championship contract signing.

Backlash will be where the title is defended in a rematch from Carmella’s Ms. Money in the Bank cash-in. The champion is introduced, but she snatches the mic to delay Charlotte’s introduction. “That is so disrespectful.” Fans echo “WOO~!”, to which Carmella also takes offense. Carmella is being introduced first? “In what world is it acceptable” to bring out champion before challenger? This isn’t Charlotte’s kingdom, it’s Carmella’s. So before it gets boring out here, Carmella has something to address: “I’m your champion. You’re booing me because none of you will ever know what it’s like to be a champion”. Carmella gave us a #Mellabration, played a FABULOUS highlight reel, but no one gave her an ovation.

But since she’s the champ, she’s going to play that highlight reel again. And this time, she demands they show her the respect she deserves! That means they will stand up and cheer for her. Play it!!

The same highlight reel does play, recapping Carmella’s Ms. Money in the Bank victory she managed “all by herself”. When it ends, the only one standing up to applaud is Corey Graves. Everyone else boos and jeers. Carmella is not accepting that, so she’s going to play that highlight reel again. And this time, the WWE Universe better stand up and cheer! The highlight reel plays again, but Charlotte interrupts with her entrance.

The former champion sits down while the current champion runs the title in her face. Renee wants Carmella to be professional but that’s not happening. Now that they’re both present, they can sign the contract. Fans “WOO~!” while Carmella continues to taunt Charlotte from across the table.

Charlotte keeps her cool, takes the pen, and signs her name. Then she gives out a proper “WOO~!” Carmella stands up and sticks the belt in her face again, so Charlotte slams Carmella’s face on the table! Then kicks the table over on Carmella! Renee leaves the ring while Charlotte brushes herself off. The Queen dumps the Princess down, but can she take the throne back at Backlash?

 

Backstage interview with…

Well, it was supposed to be Shinsuke Nakamura, but Aiden English answers the knock on the door. The Drama King says they’re not doing interviews. The trio of Rusev Day and the Rockstar are hush-hush about their Six-Man Tag, will they be able to work together against The Club?

 

Jeff Hardy VS Shelton Benjamin!

The Charismatic Enigma defeated the Gold Standard last week, in Hardy’s return to SmackDown. However, one match is not enough for Benjamin, who is a former United States Champion himself. Will Benjamin tie things up this close to Hardy’s title defense against Jinder Mahal? Or will Hardy go 2-0 already?

But wait, in return for the surprise last week, The Viper arrives while Hardy makes his entrance. Randy Orton, who is still promised a United States Championship match in his own right, decides to return the favor in full by taking this match from Hardy, too.

Randy Orton VS Shelton Benjamin!

The bell rings and Orton circles with Benjamin. They tie up, Benjamin powers Orton to a corner, but honors the break. Hardy watches ringside now as Benjamin goes for Orton’s leg. Orton gets to a corner for the break, and Benjamin backs off. The two circle again, tie up, and Benjamin gets a headlock. Orton powers out but Benjamin shoulders him down. Benjamin runs but Orton jumps over. Orton kicks but Benjamin blocks, Benjamin kicks but Orton blocks, and Orton ducks the dragon whip kick. Benjamin denies the RKO just in time, and the two circle again. Benjamin knees low then throws haymakers and stomps. The referee backs him off, Orton kicks back and throws European Uppercuts. Orton rocks Benjamin but drags him through the ropes, but Benjamin hotshots Orton back!

Benjamin brings Orton through ropes now, for a kick after kick after kick. He tops it off with a knee strike while we go picture in picture. Orton slowly stirs, but Benjamin fetches him. Benjamin bounces Orton’s head off the table, then stares Hardy down before throwing haymakers. Benjamin resets the count but Orton climbs up, only to get rocked with another knee! Orton falls to the floor, and Benjamin lets him be at the count’s mercy. Orton slowly drags himself up again, beating the count at 8. Benjamin is right on him with stomps, then drags Orton up into a chinlock. Orton endures the squeeze, slowly working his way up to his feet.

We go single picture again as Benjamin keeps on the squeeze. Fans rally for Orton and he fights back with body shots and headbutts, but Benjamin gets the dragon whip kick! Cover, TWO, but Benjamin keeps on Orton with a new chinlock. Orton works his way up again, reaching for ropes. He stands up and back suplexes Benjamin down! Orton is free of the hold and catches his breath while Benjamin rolls to ropes. They both stand up, Orton begins to rally with clotheslines. He dodges Benjamin and hits the spinning powerslam! Benjamin rolls to ropes, Orton brings him out, and hits the draping DDT!

Orton hears the voices in his head while fans fire up. Benjamin slips out of the ring, and Orton comes out to fetch him, bouncing him off the table. Hardy sees where Orton is going with Benjamin and clears out, not wanting trouble. Orton back suplexes Benjamin on the table instead!

They return into the ring, and Hardy watches a bit closer now, but a masked man chop blocks Hardy’s bad leg! Orton sees that man running away, but that man ends up cornered by security. The masked man goes into the ring, and Orton pulls the mask off to reveal Sunil Singh! Orton knows what to do with him: RKO! But Benjamin creeps up on Orton, PAY DIRT! Cover, Benjamin wins!

Winner: Benjamin, by pinfall

The Gold Standard pins the #1 Contender, while the current champion is limping. Will Hardy be ready for Mahal in Arabia? Will Benjamin find himself in line for that title should it stay on SmackDown?

 

The New Day feasts backstage.

They celebrate the launch of The Book of Booty, and toast with a glass of Booty-O’s! But then The Bar interrupts… Cesaro & Sheamus ruin the New Day’s appetites. But don’t worry, The Bar will win the Raw Tag Team Championships and go back to Raw. The New Day celebrate that! Well because obviously, the SmackDown Tag Division doesn’t stack up. They don’t just set the bar– No! Go away! Stop! “WE ARE THE BAR!” And they take pancakes away!

 

AJ Styles reunites with the Good Brothers.

The Club is back together! And it’s #TooSweet!

 

SAnitY is coming.

They vow to bring chaos and pain. “Fighting it is useless.” Who will fall to the anarchy Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain bring to SmackDown?

 

Backstage interview with Daniel Bryan.

Any update on his injury? Just some precautions for his shoulder, but he’ll be good to go for the Greatest Royal Rumble. He’s come back from worse. What happened? He got blindsided by a cowardly 7 foot man. But Paige made it official, Bryan VS Cass at Backlash. Bryan’s going to take everything on head-on, and after winning the Greatest Royal Rumble itself, he’ll show Cass that “everyone is the same size when you’re on the mat and tapping out.”

 

Samoa Joe speaks.

“Nothing and no one is safe.” That goes for the Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins. Joe will use ladders to end “Seth Freakin’ Rollins”, The Miz, and Finn Balor. The title is already his, and then he’ll enjoy watching Brock Lesnar massacre Roman Reigns in a cage. And if by a miracle, Roman survives to become Universal Champion, Joe will take that title, too.

 

Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English VS AJ Styles & The Good Brothers!

A reunion that’s #TooSweet goes up against a tough team in the King of Strong Style, the Bulgarian Lion & The Artiste. Can the Phenomenal One lead The Club in a victory for their SmackDown return?

The bell rings and Styles starts with Nakamura as a preview of their rematch. But after circling with Styles, Nakamura tags out to English. Styles just rocks Nakamura anyway before throwing English in. He tags Gallows and Gallows fires body shots on English. Gallows tags in Anderson and he keeps up the mugging, then tag to Styles for the low forearm. Styles tags in Gallows and Gallows gives a big back elbow to English before tagging Anderson back in for the jump kick. Rusev runs in but into a mule kick, then the boot! The Club controls the ring already, #TooSweet while we go to break.

SmackDown returns and Rusev runs into Anderson’s uppercut. Anderson tags in Styles and Styles gives Rusev the Phenomenal Blitz! He hits English but Nakamura avoids it. Styles slingshots but Nakamura evades, Rusev hits the MACHKA Kick! Rusev tags English in and English stomps on Styles. The referee backs English off and Styles flounders, but English is on him again with knees and stomps. English puts Styles in a chinlock, but fans duel while we go picture in picture. Styles stands up but English throws him down for more stomps. English brings him up and tags in Nakamura, Nakamura gives a body shot to the ribs. Nakamura puts Styles in a corner for knees to ribs, then Good Vibrations. Nakamura then snapmares to a cover, TWO.

We return single picture as Nakamura goes after the legs. He sits Styles up and kicks him back down, then drags him over to tag in Rusev. Rusev kicks Styles in the ribs, then scoops Styles and slams him down. Rusev runs for the elbow drop, cover, TWO. Fans rally for The Club, Rusev tags in English to whip him in for the back elbow. English feeds Styles to Rusev’s kick, English covers, TWO. English keeps on Styles with a chinlock, and sings mockingly that “He’s not going anywhere~!” The fans still rally for The Club and Styles fights his way up and out. English clubs Styles back, but runs into a dropkick! Both men are down, crawlign for their corners, hot tag to Rusev but he runs into the PELE! Styles crawls and tags in Gallows!

Gallows rallies on Engilsh with big lariats, then fires up for a big corner splash. Roundhouse rocks English, then Gallows pumphandle slams him down. Headbutt drop on top, cover, but Rusev breaks that. Anderson comes in but is sent into the post! Gallows clothesliens Rusev out but English tags in Nakamura. YAKUZA Kick for English but Nakamura chop blocks and KINSHASA to Gallows!

Cover, Nakamura wins for his team!

Winners: Nakamura, Rusev & English; Nakamura pinning.

But Styles finally gets at Nakamura! They brawl, the Phenomenal Blitz is blocked by a LOW BLOW! Nakamura takes aim at Styles, but Anderson jumps into the KINSHASA for Styles! The Machine Gun bites the proverbial bullet, but Nakamura kicks Styles back down before adding insult to injury. Nakamura drags Anderson up while Styles watches, and Nakamura shouts “C’MON!” He backs up, takes aim, and hits Anderson with another KINSHASA!! Nakamura mocks Styles’ concern for his friend, and has sent a vicious message to the champion. The Rockstar wants that WWE Championship, and he will give anyone and everyone a #Knee2Face to get it. Can Styles get revenge on Nakamura at the Greatest Royal Rumble?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A pretty good SmackDown, but holy crap there were too many commercial breaks. Ignoring that, this was itself a good go-home for Greatest Royal Rumble. Opening with Miz TV and the surprise guest of Big Cass was pretty good, and Cass seems to have improved in his promo skills. Finding Bryan beat up already was no surprise, and this Bryan VS Cass feud is already gearing up to be good. The IIconics give another great promo, and they have a really good match with Becky & Asuka. Their win was a nice surprise, and at least it was dirty so that Becky & Asuka aren’t really weakened by it. Between the various teams on both shows, it feels like WWE is gearing up to bring us that Women’s Tag Team Division and Championships. It’d probably have to be co-branded, but that works since all PPV’s are being co-branded now.

I like Naomi further involving herself in the story between Usos and Bludgeon Brothers, it is logical given the real life relationship of her and Jimmy. However, we know she won’t be able to help in the tag title match in Arabia, mostly because it’s in Arabia. Bludgeon Brothers will likely retain, and then they can move on to The New Day, or a new addition to SmackDown like SAnitY or the Good Brothers. Carmella was brilliant as a Heel in the contract signing segment, and Charlotte’s response was perfect. Whether or not there was more to be had, this still worked out for both sides.

It was pretty clever for Orton to return the favor on Hardy and snipe his match, and that match was pretty good. I didn’t think Sunil Singh would show up to go after Hardy but it makes sense given Mahal’s MO. Like Gable on Raw, Benjamin gets a someone surprise win, so either one is set up for a US Title shot once we all know which show has it. I like Nakamura’s new take on his theme, and the backstory that he had it done because he was sick of fans singing along. The Six Man Tag was a great main event, The Club finally looks capable in the ring. Nakamura stands tall in strong Heel fashion, he might get that belt at GRR.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (4/23/18)

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The Beast returns to Raw! And just days before his Universal Championship Steel Cage Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble, will he and his Advocate have something to say about The Big Dog getting one more shot at the title? Plus, all the aftermath of the Superstar Shake-Up, such as Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn having jobs!!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Elias VS Bobby Roode; Elias wins.
  • The Ascension VS WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt; Hardy & Wyatt.
  • Titus Worldwide VS Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre; Ziggler & McIntyre win.
  • Chad Gable VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh; Gable wins.
  • Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman; Lashley & Strowman win.
  • Baron Corbin VS No Way Jose; no contest.
  • The Miztourage VS Finn Balor & Seth Rollins; Balor & Rollins win.
  • 10 Woman Tag: The Riott Squad, Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon & Natalya; Ruby, Liv, Sarah, Alexa & Mickie win.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE and Raw dedicate the episode to Bruno Sammartino.

To honor the life of the Hall of Fame “Living Legend”, a moment of silence with ten tolls of the bell. Bruno was truly one of the greats, if not THE greatest. He will be missed.

 

The Beast comes to St. Louis!

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are both back on Raw for episode 1300! The Advocate waits for the boos to die down before he speaks for the “still reigning, defending, undisputed” Universal Champion. Heyman supposes people are raining down their anger because they assume Heyman will gloat. They must think he’s here to say “We Told You So!” Or that they’re here to talk like they did when Lesnar conquered The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak, or when Lesnar took Cena to #SuplexSuplexSuplexCity, or when Lesnar takes out every “wannabe tough guy who doesn’t understand” that “this is real” or that no one in the locker room stands any more of a chance than members of the WWE Universe. Heyman doesn’t give predictions, he gives spoilers, and “Lesnar does not gloat, Brock Lesnar conquers!”

But Heyman gloats! Heyman gloats that Lesnar used non-PG elbows to bust Roman open and then took Roman Reigns to Suplex City, used multiple F5’s, and left Roman a heap of trash at the biggest Wrestlemania of all time! “And none of this means anything to Brock Lesnar.” Lesnar does not dwell on the past, even when we’re only talking a couple weeks. Lesnar looks to the future, especially when that future is this Friday, in Saudi Arabia, at the Greatest Royal Rumble, craving to be in a UFC fight, goes to be “locked inside of a cage with Roman Reigns.” Heyman notices the fans genuinely cheering for Roman.

But being in a cage wasn’t Roman’s idea, so Heyman tells the world: “Brock Lesnar pinned Roman Reigns, WWE had no choice”, so now Lesnar signed a “big fat contract” that he earned, but WWE wants the title at #GRR. What does Lesnar say to that? “Well, Roman Reigns is breathing, give me Roman Reigns.” Lesnar wanted a fight for the title, in a cage! The odds are stacked against Roman even more now than at Wrestlemania! So here’s the spoiler: Roman steps into the greatest cage fighter ever, so this Friday, Lesnar will “shred Roman Reigns, piece by piece, limb from limb”! Roman will only return to America in boxes as a former WWE superstar and just another victim! But speaking of, here comes Roman!

The Big Dog stares right down at Lesnar. Lesnar simply chuckles back at him, shaking his head. Lesnar thinks Roman doesn’t want any of him, but Roman marches down the ramp to prove him wrong. The WWE Universe is itching to see these two fight, and Lesnar seems pleasantly surprised to see Roman getting into the ring. Roman has a mic, but he takes a moment to stare at the title. Lesnar notices him staring at it, and taunts him with it. Roman says Heyman is right, he isn’t sure how he’s getting back. But he knows this: “I’m coming home with that title. And you can believe that.” He drops the mic, and takes his leave. This fight will happen Friday in Arabia and a cage. Can the Big Dog finally best The Beast?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter is in St. Louis, but he’s immediately interrupted!

Elias VS Bobby Roode!

The GLORIOUS One interrupts, wanting the spotlight on him over The Drifter. Will Roode make good on his first 1v1 match on Raw? Or will Elias make him pay and #DriftAway for the interruption?

The bell rings, the two tie up, and Elias puts on a headlock. Roode powers out but Elias runs him over. Elias speeds things up but Roode runs him over with an elbow. Roode chops Elias in a corner, then stomps and chops again. Roode chops Elias, Elias forearms back then chops, too. Elias puts Roode in a corner but Roode turns that around for another chop. Roode whips corner to corner but Elias reverses, only to run into Roode’s elbow. Roode goes up but has to jump over Elias, legs buckling a bit. He still gets Elias with the atomic drop and dropkick, cover, TWO.

Roode keeps on Elias with the armlock, bringing him to the mat. Elias works his way up, Roode wrenches the arm. Roode wrenches the arm again but Elias rocks him with a right! The Drifter chops Roode against ropes then whips, but Roode goes for the DDT. Elias gets away so Roode clotheslines him out. GLORIOUS Pose as we go to break.

Raw returns, and Elias puts Roode in a corner. Roode ducks the forearm to chop Elias again. Elias is reeling from that shot, so Roode gives him another. Roode whips but Elias kicks him back to then club him in the back. Elias throws Roode into a post! The referee checks on Roode while Elias catches his breath. Elias sits Roode up for a nerve hold, we go picture in picture to plug the Greatest Royal Rumble’s Casket Match of Rusev VS The UNDERTAKER. Roode endures the hold and works his way up to his feet. He hits Elias but Elias hits back so it’s a brawl now. Elias gets Roode in a corner and stomps a mudhole into him! He tops it off with a running stomp, then rams Roode’s chest into the apron edges. He adds a running knee to the head, covers, TWO.

Elias grows frustrated but he keeps on Roode. He mocks GLORIOUS while wrapping Roode into a chinlock. Fans rally for Roode and Roode powers up. Elias wrangles him down but Roode stands again. Elias brings Roode down again, but fans chant for Roode. Roode gets a second wind and back suplexes Elias down! Both men are down, but stirring. Roode gets to a corner while Elias walks over. Elias swings but Roode counters, then chops and whips. Elias reverses but Roode runs him over. Roode rallies with forearms and a corner clothesline into a neckbreaker. Roode’s firing up with the fans while he climbs up top. He takes aim and flying clothesline takes down Elias!

Roode winds it up for GLORIOUS Pose! He kicks but Elias back drops, sunset flip, TWO! Elias knees low and puts Roode in a corner, but Roode knees him away. He hops up, GLORIOUS Blockbuster! Elias rolls out to prevent the cover, which fans boo and jeer. Roode doesn’t care, he goes out to fetch Elias. He puts Elias in the ring but Elias hotshots ROode off the top and rolls him up, Elias wins!

Winner: Elias, by pinfall

The Drifter was crafty with that performance, and he ruins Roode’s first 1v1 match. Will Elias truly put on a spectacular performance in the 50-Man Royal Rumble match? Or will Roode turn things around and make this Friday the most GLORIOUS Royal Rumble ever?

 

WOKEN Matt Hardy speaks.

“I have spoken to the Oracle”, and the future is clear. They will PROCURE the Raw Tag Team Championships! But first, they must visit the Wasteland. Bray Wyatt says that without darkness, there is no light. And together, this WOKEN Yin-Yang will cast a shadow that covers the world. “RUN!”

 

The Ascension VS WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt!

Konnor & Viktor are back on Raw thanks to the Superstar Shake-Up, but now they must face the #DeleterOfWorlds just days before the Expedition of Gold takes on The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Will they be rendered OBSOLETE already?

The bell rings and Hardy starts against Viktor. They tie up, Viktor gets the headlock but Hardy powers out. Hardy sees Viktor’s cartwheel, and says that was WONDERFUL~!

The fans and Wyatt agree, but then Viktor swings on Hardy. Bray scares Viktor, Hardy hits the Russian leg sweep. Hardy then tags in Brya, and together they hit Viktor with the leg drop and back senton. Bray goes for the yurinagi but viktor slips out. Viktor tags in Konnor, who clubs Brya, but then runs into the turn-around lariat! Bray tags in Hardy and feeds Konnor to the boots. Hardy says “DELETE! DELETE!” but Konnor denies the twist. Viktor tags in and the Ascension mug Hardy in their corner.

Viktor tags Konnor back in and they mug Hardy with combination strikes. Konnor drops a big elbow and covers, TWO. Tag to Viktor for a first drop and cover, TWO. Viktor keeps Hardy down while fans rally, and Hardy uses a jawbreaker to break out. Tag to Bray, and Bray rallies on Viktor with palm strikes and uppercuts. Bray wipes Konnor out then runs Viktor over with the body check! Bray prepares his Spider-Walk! Tag to Hardy and a feed to the Side Effect, TWO. “DELETE! DELETE!” Hardy brings Viktor up but Konnor saves him. Bray gets Konnor with Sister Abigail! Hardy tags him in, and brings Viktor up, they combine for a draping Twist of Fate! Cover, #DeleterOfWorlds win!

Winners: WOKEN Hardy & Bray Wyatt, Wyatt pinning

The Yin-Yang of WOKEN & Wyatt comes for the titles, as do The Bar, though The Bar is no longer on Raw. Will Cesaro & Sheamus be DELETED in Arabia? Or will they be responsible for robbing the Red Roster of their tag titles?

 

It’s the premiere of The Sami & Kevin Show!

The Underdog and Prizefighter sit at their brand new desk to introduce the WWE Universe to their talk show. The new hottest maybe-weekly show in WWE, because “a huge void” was created when The Miz was moved to SmackDown. But who better to step up than these two? And who better in history than one of them to win the Greatest Royal Rumble? Why is it called that? The seven titles on the line. Nope. Lana gave Rusev permission to take on the Undertaker. Nope. That they’re going to win the Rumble. Yep! So make sure you have the day off to watch Sami & Kevin prove themselves the most dominant of all the WWE superstars. Watch them prove why Stephanie McMahon chose them to be the “crown jewels” of Raw.

Those comments probably rub their guest the wrong way. But tonight is about new beginnings, so they have a song for their guest. “You Suck! You Suck!” Yes, that’s for the Olympic Gold Medalist and Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle!

At least when the fans sing it, they mean it nicely. Angle joins Kevin & Sami in the ring, but they realize they don’t have a chair for him. Kevin produces a lawn chair from under the desk. “Nothing but the finest, boss.” But to get to business, how was their song? Don’t quit your day jobs, boys. Kevin understands Angle is a bit bitter, things got off on the wrong foot. And Kevin would be uncomfortable if his boss had his manhood in a jar. But they’re just poking fun. Sami & Kevin note the “outright conspiracy” they just finished with on SmackDown, which is why they took matters into their own hands. Or in Kevin’s case, own head, when he headbutted THE Vince McMahon down.

But then, either Stephanie either really appreciates their talent, or really dislikes Angle. Angle doesn’t blame Stephanie for being bitter, because he’s the reason Ronda Rousey injured Stephanie’s arm. Kevin and Sami caution Angle not to speak out of turn, he has his kids to worry about. All five of them. No, all six. It isn’t five? Sami checks his notes. Oh right, he forgot Jason Jordan. Though, so did Angle. But enough about the past, on to the future. Tonight, Angle will give Sami & Kevin the opportunities to maximize their potential. What’s that gonna look like? Angle “appreciates” the treatment and will repay them with something at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Because Angle and Daniel Bryan will both be in the 50-Man Royal Rumble, and Chris Jericho! And just about everyone else these two “endeared” themselves towards.

But for tonight, Kevin & Sami take on Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman! The Alpha Male and the Monster Among Men are going to take on the #YEPMovement! Will the first episode of the Sami & Kevin Show be the last?

 

Seth Rollins encounters The Miztourage backstage.

Bo Dallas & Curt Axel know they said good-bye to Miz and hello to their futures. They’re going to #BURNITDOWN with Rollins! He’s going to be their new leader in a NEW Shield! So long as they have the Architect.

Rollins admits they’re on the right track, but it’s gonna be a hard “no”. Will Bo & Axel find what they need to keep riding high?

 

Titus Worldwide VS Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre!

After not only rejecting their proposal but also steamrolling them in a blindside attack, The Show-Off and the Scottish Stud take on The Real Deal and his top client in a tag match for revenge. Can Titus & Apollo #MakeItAWin against the returning duo after how well Ziggler & McIntyre worked together last week?

The bell rings and Ziggler starts with Titus. Titus puts Ziggler right into a corner, and he chops and stomps away. Tag to Apollo and Titus feeds Ziggler to Apollo’s clothesline. Apollo hits the standing moonsault, TWO, but he keeps on Ziggler. He shoves Ziggler but Ziggler holds ropes. McIntyre tags in and Ziggler runs Apollo over. The Celtic Colossus brings Apollo up for chops in the corner, then furious right hands. McIntyre tosses Apollo across the way, then counters the boot with a back elbow. Ziggler tags in while McIntyre carries Apollo in the inverted Alabama Slam. Ziggler SUPERKICKS Apollo before the whiplash slam! McIntyre blasts Titus down just because, then Ziggler tags him back in. They bring Apollo up, CLAYMORE ZIG ZAG!! Cover, Dolph & Drew win!

Winners: Ziggler & McIntyre, McIntyre pinning

The Show-Off and Stud win their first match together, and with an aggressive dominance rarely seen.

In-ring interview with the winners.

Both men showed up last week, and Ziggler said things would be different. Why did he bring McIntyre with him? Everyone can tell why! Day one, no one watched Ziggler’s back, but McIntyre has his back now. McIntyre is dangerous, and he speaks for himself by saying that they’re both dangerous to a “soft” locker room with no fire or ambition. It makes him sick! These two are what superstars look like, speak, and back up their words. Trust McIntyre when he says times are changing, and though he’s not what WWE wants, he’s the reality check it needs! “We don’t give a damn about stealing the show, because this right here IS the show!” Ziggler & McIntyre look to turn the heat up on everyone in the WWE, who will be next to get that reality check?

 

Kurt Angle likes what he sees from Ziggler & McIntyre.

But he’s visited by Chad Gable, another Shake-Up addition. He won’t disappoint Angle, and Angle knows that. How’s Jason? Getting better, but this trade was for Gable as a singles competitor. Gable agrees, he will scratch and claw– Mahal interrupts to protest last week’s last-minute title match. And then Jeff Hardy goes to SmackDown!? But Mahal vows to get that title back, so he insists he goes back to SmackDown when it happens. That latter part isn’t happening. Mahal threatens calling Stephanie, but Gable says Mahal should learn respect. Mahal recognizes Gable, he’s the little boy who won with Strowman at Wrestlemania. Gable shoves, but Angle keeps the peace and says they settle this in the ring! Gable is ready, and so is the Modern Day Maharaja.

 

Chad Gable VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh!

Just days before the “former and future” United States Champion takes on Jeff Hardy, he looks to tune up with the Olympic medalist newly added to Raw. Will he show his strength before taking on the Charismatic Enigma in Arabia? But before even the bell, Sunil distracts so that Mahal can blindside Gable off the steps!

The Maharaja grins as he drags Gable up and throws him into the barriers! Mahal does not respect Gable as he puts him in the ring, then stomps a Maharaja mudhole into him. The referee backs him off to check on Gable, then reprimands Mahal for his actions. Gable won’t let this stop him, he wants the match to happen. The bell rings, and Gable dodges Mahal to fire back. Mahal shoves him but Gable comes right back for a big takedown. Gable gets the waistlock but Mahal pushes him off to then kick him right in the face!

Mahal looms over Gable as he drags him up. He toys with Gable while fans cheer. Mahal lifts but Gable crossbodies to counter! Cover, TWO, but Mahal gets dumped out of the ring. Gable goes to the outside but Mahal runs him over. Mahal is in control while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Mahal still controls Gable with a half clutch. Fans rally and Gable works his way out. Mahal brings him back down to a knee, but Gable keeps scratching and clawing his way up. Gable fights back but Mahal knees low to then suplex Gable over. Cover, TWO, but Mahal keeps on him with clubbing ax handles and stomps. Fans cheer Gable and Gable fires back with forearms. Gable runs but into a big lariat from Mahal! Mahal drags Gable back up to whip him hard into a corner! He gives Gable crossface punches and elbows, then puts him in a chinlock. Gable endures and fights his way up again as fans cheer. Gable throws body shots but runs into a big elbow.

Mahal drags Gable over and chokes him on the ropes. Mahal backs off at the ref’s count, then drops springboard knees on Gable’s chest. But Gable boots Mahal away! Gable rallies and hits the rolling kick! Gable goes after the leg with knee wrench after knee wrench, then a dragon screw. He yanks and stretches Mahal’s leg, and Sunil panics. Gable kicks that leg but Mahal knees back. Mahal lifts Gable but Gable fights out. Mahal bucks Gable off and hotshots him on the rope, to then hit a running knee! Fans boo while Mahal grins and stalks Gable. He wants his finish but Gable blocks and uses corners to roll back into a cover! GABLE WINS!

Winner: Gable, by pinfall

The Maharaja is furious but he is now the loser in Gable’s biggest victory! If Gable can #ScratchAndClaw like this, will he one day be wrestling for a singles championship?

 

Backstage interview with The Riott Squad.

Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott made an impact by interrupting Bayley VS Sasha Banks. Are they sending a message to those two? It wasn’t just for the “frenemies” but all of Raw’s Women’s Division. The Squad aren’t here to be role models, but to disrupt. Sarah knows scared animals are easy prey, and right now, the Raw Women’s Division is full of scared animals. And if anyone gets in their way, they get the same treatment. They’re “equal opportunity agitators”, and like a can of tear gas, the Squad will make everyone drop to their knees, crying and begging for help. “Just the way we like it.”

 

Samoa Joe speaks.

Though no longer part of Raw, he and Roman Reigns will still have a match at Backlash. The Samoan Destroyer heard Roman Reigns vow to return to America as Universal Champion. He has his own prediction: he might not even have an opponent at Backlash. Joe knows that as history shows, Lesnar will conquer The Big Dog and bury him in the desert. If Roman does become the champion, will Samoa Joe simply take that belt from him shortly after?

 

The Miztourage talk to someone.

They know what you’re thinking: Miz is on SmackDown, but so were the Good Brothers. Therefore, the NEW Balor Club can be with them! Finn wasn’t thinking this. But, this would be #TooSweet!

Right? Right? Thanks, but no thanks. And don’t do the hand thing. Strike two for Bo & Axel, but is the third time the charm?

 

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman!

As usual for the #YEPMovement, they’ve put their foots in their mouths, and now they must make their Raw 2v2 debut against two massive stars! Can Sami & Kevin survive a match with the Dominator and Abominable Strowman?

Fans chant “Get These Hands!” as all four men enter the ring. Kevin & Sami talk it out, and they both escape the clutches of Lashley and Strowman. They talk it out again, but end up flanked on both sides, so they escape into the ring. Sami & Kevin are extremely wary, and time it so that they slip out as Strowman and Lashley enter, only to fall for Strowman’s & Lashley’s trick. Strowman grabs them both, throws Sami into a barrier then feeds Kevin to Lashley! Lashley spins Kevin around into a neckbreaker, then hits a corner clothesline. He keeps moving, giving Kevin a big spinebuster! Fans are all fired up for the duo of dangerous individuals. Lashley rocks Kevin with a right hand then a shoudler tackle in the corner. He drives elbows into Kevin, then grinds a boot into him. Sami protests but Kevin can’t get away.

Lashley keeps on Kevin, whips him to ropes, but Kevin kicks him away. Kevin drags Lashley to his corner and Sami tags in. Sami throws hands on Lashley, mocking him before giving a chop. Lashley hits back, then snap suplexes Sami down. Cover, ONE, but Lashley keeps on Sami in a corner with back elbows. Lashley runs corner to corner but into a boot! Sami brings Lashley back over and Kevin tags in, and now Kevin throws hands. Kevin mugs Lashley in the corner, then tags Sami back in.

They both whip Lashley but Lashley kicks Sami and throws Kevin out. Lashley lifts Sami up onto his shoulder, snake eyes on a buckle. Lashley runs and crossbodies, TWO. Sami scurries to a corner but gets a shoulder tackle from Lashley. Lashley runs but Kevin holds the ropes down to dump Lashley out! Kevin adds a back senton, he and Sami are in control while we go to break.

Raw returns to Sami bumping Lashley off buckles and giving him a sharp chop. Sami chops again, taunting Bruan as he walks across the way. Sami runs back at Lashley, but into Lashley’s belly2belly suplex! Both men are down but crawling for their corners, hot tag to Kevin and he stomps Lashley before he tags Strowman! Kevin throws hands and stomps, and goes for the back senton, but Lashley’s knees meet him. Kevin tags in Sami, and now Sami stops Lashley from tagging Strowman. Sami puts Lashley in a chinlock, but Lashley carries Sami on his back. Sami brings Lashley to his knees, but Lashley powers out with a sidewalk slam!

Both men are down again, fans are at a fever pitch, but Kevin trips up Strowman! Lashley can’t tag out, but that only pissed Strowman off. Strowman stomps his way back to the apron, Lashley fights out of the enemy corner, and hot tag to Strowman! The Monster hops down and runs around the corners to bulldoze Kevin!

Then he gets in the ring to do the same to Sami! And then he hits Kevin again! And Sami, again! Strowman won’t stop, he goes after Kevin with a dropkick! The fans are thunderous for the Monster Among Men, but Sami bails and runs away, except Lashley catches up to him. Lashley brings Sami back and feeds him to Strowman for a big clubbing forearm. Strowman clotheslines Sami in the corner, and fans chant “Get These Hands!”

Sami finds himself trapped, Strowman tags Lashley in before tossing Sami. Lashley brings Sami up, for the delayed suplex slam!

Tag back to Strowman, and Strowman gives a thumbs down. He drags Sami up onto his shoulder, for the MONSTER SLAM! Cover, Strowman & Lashley win!

Winners: Lashley & Strowman win, Strowman pinning

Dominant and destructive, Lashley and Strowman dismantle Kevin & Sami. For the sake of ever having a chance at winning, everyone else in the Raw Tag Team Division better hope these two don’t stay a team.

 

Baron Corbin VS No Way Jose!

The Lone Wolf makes his Raw debut after the Superstar Shake-Up, will it bring the #EndofDays to the Fighting Fiesta already?

Corbin speaks. “C’mon, man. You didn’t think I would see through your little plan?” The conga line is just an excuse to have back-up to jump him. He knows Jose just wants to have fun, but Corbin’s idea of fun is ruining other people’s fun. He is on Raw to be a champion, so Jose isn’t even on his level. This match won’t happen so long as Jose has that “group of freaks” with him.

No Contest

Corbin leaves, but Jose responds. “Just because Baron Corbin doesn’t want us to have fun doesn’t mean the party has to stop!” Hit the music! The conga line starts up again, but as it reaches the ramp, Corbin returns to ambush Jose!

The Lone Wolf ignores the boos and jeers as he kicks Jose while he’s down. Corbin even puts Jose into the LED wall face first. He boots Jose down again, then embraces the heat as he hits Jose with a choke slam backbreaker! Corbin ruins the fun like he promised, but will it earn him opportunities like he wants?

 

Alexa Bliss brings us a Public Service Announcement.

The Goddess of Raw says “Bullies thrive on silence.” If you see someone bullying someone else, speak up. It’s not worth staying silent. Alexa remembers hanging out with Nia Jax back when they were friends, and this “sweet old homeless lady” approached them. The woman was starving, so Alexa gave her food. But Nia took the food away and ate it all down. Alexa will never forget the look of horror on that woman’s face, or the sounds of Nia laughing and chewing, while Alexa stood there and did nothing. She’ll have to live with that for the rest of her life. Alexa wants Nia Jax’s teammates to stand up in tonight’s main event, and Alexa can finish it at Backlash when she gets the title back. “And this has been, your Moment of Bliss.” Will anyone really fall for Alexa’s blatant lies?

 

The Miztourage VS Finn Balor & Seth Rollins!

The Extraordinary Man and the Architect both rejected the ideas of teaming with Bo Dallas & Curt Axel, so now they’ll have to team up together to beat them in the ring. However, Finn and Rollins will be opponents Friday in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match, joined by The Miz and Samoa Joe of SmackDown. Can Finn & Rollins keep on the same page to then work to keep the IC Title on Raw?

Finn and Bo start and circle. They tie up, Bo gets the headlock, but Finn powers out, only for Bo to run him over. Bo gloats while Finn stands up. Bo tags Axel with a “Shield fist bump”, and Axel circles with Finn. They tie up, headlock but Finn powers out again, only for Axel to run him over, too. Axel puts up Too Sweets now, then ties up with Finn again. Finn gets a waistlock but Axel elbows out. Axel whips Finn but Finn reverses, Axel sunset flips but Finn rolls through to dropkick Axel. Cover, TWO, and Finn wrenches Axel’s arm. Bo distracts Finn and Axel forearms him down. Axel clubs Finn at the ropes and chokes him, then tags Bo for Bo to drop a knee. Cover, TWO, so Bo drops more knees. Cover, TWO, so Bo puts Finn in the chinlock.

Fans rally for Finn, as does Rollins, and Finn stands up. Bo wrangles him back down to the mat, but Finn endures the squeeze. Finn stands up and reaches for Rollins, but has to jawbreaker Bo first. Bo shoves Finn and rocks him with a forearm on the rebound, but Finn gets Bo with the Pele! Both men go down, fans rally, and hot tags to Rollins and Axel. Rollins springboards to clothesline Axel, then keeps going, slingblade! Rollins throws Axel into Bo, then clotheslines Axel out. The Miztourage regroups but Rollins builds speed to DIVE!

Rollins takes out Axel and gets him back into the ring. He kicks Axel from a corner then hops up for the blockbuster. Rollins keeps going as the fans fire up, stomping the mat to “Burn It Down!” Bo runs in, but into Rollins’ SUPERKICK! Axel kicks low but Rollins rejects the Perfect Plex to mule kick and CURB STOMP! Tag to Finn, Finn climbs up while Rollins slingshots onto Bo! Finn takes aim at Axel, COUP DE GRACE! Cover, Balor & Rollins win!

Winners: Balor & Rollins, Balor pinning

With the Miztourage taken care of, these two can now focus on THE Miz and Samoa Joe in Saudi Arabia. Four stars compete for one title in a Ladder Match, who will climb up to bring that title back to the states?

 

Natalya gives a pep talk to “her” team.

 

The Queen of Harts is ready to teach the Riott Squad, as well as Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, a lesson for being bullies. Ember adds that they’ll leave those five looking over their shoulders. Nia says mocking her is bad for your health. But the not-so best friends are a bit tense around each other still. Will there be dysfunction or victory for this team of five?

 

10 Woman Tag: The Riott Squad, Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon & Natalya!

Just as there was a star-studded 10-Man tag last week, this week brings us the best of the Raw Women’s Division. Will the Goddess and her new best friend work well with Ruby, Liv & Sarah to defeat the Huggable One, Legit Boss, Irresistible Force, Prophecy of Flame and Queen of Harts?

The teams sort out and Liv starts against Sasha. Liv mocks Sasha before dodging her and tagging in Sarah. Liv and Sarah club away on Sasha, then #CountryStrong grinds her forearms into Sasha’s face. Fans boo and jeer while the Squad applauds. Sarah knees Sasha but Sasha kicks back. Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she still knees Sarah down to then swing in with wrecking ball meteora! Cover, ONE, but Sasha keeps on Sarah with an armlock. Sarah stands up and fights out, then tags Liv back in. Sarah stomps on Sasha, then Liv whips her to an open corner. Sasha boots Liv away but Liv Matrix leans under, only for Sasha to get her on the return. She sits Liv down and slaps her down, covers, ONE.

Sasha wrenches Liv’s arm and brings her over to tag in Ember. Ember takes Liv and wrenches her onto the mat. Cover, ONE, but Ember whips Liv into a corner. Ember handsprings for a heavy forearm, then springboards for the crossbody. Cover, TWO, and Liv rolls out of the ring. The Squad goes over but Ember beats them to Liv with a DIVE!

Sarah & Ruby try to save Liv, but the War Goddess and her team have control while we go to break.

Raw returns and now Sarah is in control of Sasha. Fans rally but Sarah trips up Sasha to keep on top of her with that cobra clutch. Sasha endures the thrashing while the fans rally, and she wills herself up. She fights out but Sarah catches her just short of the tag. Sarah hammers on Sasha but it’s Mickie who tags in. Mickie stomps and grinds a boot into Sasha, then drags her out for another chinlock. Fans keep the rally going, we go picture in picture for another Greatest Royal Rumble commercial advertising the rematch of Lesnar VS Reigns. Sasha feeds off fan energy and jawbreakers out again, only to run into Mickie’s knee. Mickie puts Sasha back in the chinlock, but fans won’t stop rallying for Sasha.

Sasha fights out again, but Mickie knees low. Mickie whips Sasha corner to corner, but Sasha goes up and over. She tumbles to her corner but Mickie stops her short. Sasha rocks Mickie with a right, and tags in Natty! Natty rallies with a discus clothesline, the more clotheslines. Snap suplex to Mickie, then another! Natty keeps going, snapmare and runs on Mickie to dropkick her down. She even gets the takedown into the Sharpshooter! Mickie endures the legendary hold, reaching for ropes, but Sarah chop blocks Natty down!

Natty lets go of the hold and the referee checks on her, but Mickie gets away to her corner for safety. Natty wills herself up even on a bad leg, and she tags out to Bayley, but Mickie still kicks Natty down! Bayley and the others show concern, and the referee calls for medics.

The action continues and Mickie tags out to Ruby, but Bayley is ready for her! Bayley rallies with a back suplex, then whips. Ruby holds ropes and breaks free, to hit Bayley with an STO! Cover, TWO, but Ruby puts Bayley into a chinlock. Medics check on Natty’s knee while fans rally for Bayley. Mickie talks trash about Natty staying on SmackDown, but Bayley fights her way up and out. Ruby hops on to be a backpack, but Bayley just backs her into the corner. Nia tags in, Bayley throws Rub off and Nia throws Ruby all around. She squashes Ruby in a corner, then lifts her up to throw her down!

Nia drops the leg, all the others break the cover! Chaos ensues and no one is left in the ring. Nia gets an idea, MAJOR apron splash!! All the women of Raw are down!!

Micke recovers first, and helps fan off Alexa. Natty manages to stand on the other end, but Mickie pounces with another dropkick! Mickie has some strange vendetta with Natty as she stomps and stomps, so here comes RONDA!! Rowdy Rousey scares Mickie off, but then Mickie attacks HER from behind! That’s a mistake, seeing how Ronda glares at her.

Mickie tries to smile it off, but Ronda is upon her! Ronda puts Mickie in the armbar, Mickie taps, but this match ends because of interference.

Disqualification; Riott Squad, Alexa & Mickie win

Though Natty’s team loses, Ronda is the winner in the end as she makes Mickie pay for what she did to Natty. Ronda helps Natty to the back, will the Queen of Harts be able to recover from what Mickie did to her?

 


 

My Thoughts:

This first Raw after the Shake-Up was pretty good, even with it also being a go-home to Greatest Royal Rumble. The opening tribute to Bruno was perfect, and it’s great they already have a Network special to go right after Raw. Heyman gives another good promo while Roman keeps it very short and sweet, though perhaps a bit shoe-horned in. Roode not giving Elias even time to introduce himself was brilliant, but then it was somewhat logical Elias would win the match. It’s a good move to have a program between these two to tide themselves over while the IC and US titles work themselves out. We obviously know The Ascension are never being a winning tag team again.

For that matter, there was a lot more tag team stuff tonight than usual, I almost feel like Raw could become the Tag Team show while both singles titles go to SmackDown. SmackDown gave them Breezango and The Ascension, and then with Ziggler & McIntyre winning, as well as Kevin & Sami, the Raw Tag Team Division is bigger than usual But I don’t think WWE would really do that, so each show is gonna have one of the mid-card belts. I just can’t be sure if Raw keeps the IC and SmackDown the US, or they trade. Speaking of Kevin & Sami, their match with Lashley & Strowman was great, even when Sami & Kevin lose. Lashley’s a beast, Strowman’s truly a monster, and one way or another, both of them should be holding gold by the time we get to SummerSlam.

Gable also proves he’s capable of a singles title run with his match against Mahal. If IC and US titles swap, Gable could be first in line to take that US title from Mahal, unless titles trade back with Backlash. Corbin is still Corbin, even on Raw. Like Roode and Elias, a Corbin-Jose program can help to tide them over until we’re past Backlash. The Miztourage searching for a new leader is interesting, and can have all kinds of possibilities with the end result. Personally, I want Bo to join Bray down the line.

And the Women’s 5v5 tag was really good, and it seems if it isn’t Absolution VS Natty & Ronda, it’ll be Mickie and Alexa(?) in their place. I’m sure Nia will retain at Backlash to move on to Sasha, Bayley or even Ember. Though, even with the addition of Ronda, this tag match shows Raw’s half of the Women’s Division is still shallow, hopefully they get more women in the next round of call-ups.

My Score: 8.5/10


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