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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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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.2 ~ 21ST SEPTEMBER 2018

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CURRENT TOUR RECAP

NOAH finished up their mammoth five day in a row event (14th September to the 18th September), fortunately no-one was injured, but both Hajime Ohara (neck) and Hi69 (knee) seem to be carrying injuries.

After losing the GHC Heavyweight Tag Title challenge against Naomichi Marufuji and Akitoshi Saito, Kaito Kiyomiya intimated that he would be interested in challenging for them again, but with another partner (i.e. Go Shiozaki). Shiozaki was seen watching Kaito Kiyomiya in the tag match against 50 Funky Powers in Hakata Stalene. Later in the tour he mentioned on Twitter about “shutting them up” and their GHC Heavyweight Tag Challenge

.Speaking of Go Shiozaki there was a very sweet moment that took place in Hakata, involving both himself and Atsushi Kotoge. When they made their entrance in their match against The Hooligans (Cody Hall and Maybach Taniguchi), a little boy could be seen dressed in a homemade “Revolutionary Cloak”. When Kotoge appeared the little boy and the little girl next to him (most probably his sister), did the revolutionary fist pumps (to the delight of Kotoge who joined in), and when he had gone, Shiozaki noticed, did it for half a second, and then went bright red (Shiozaki gets very shy when he has to do physical comedy, he also has a tendency to start giggling as well when others do it).
During the match, the brawl went into the crowd, and a little girl was upset by it and started crying. Go Shiozaki, gave her a hug to comfort her, and once back in the ring got The Hooligans in the corner, pointed to her and said “this is for you”, and proceeded to chop them.

Despite his claim to “bring the revolution to Hakata, and defeat the villains!”, Atsushi Kotoge took the Zwei Bomb from Taniguchi.

Naomichi Marufuji is still not accepting the challenge of The Hooligans, and gave a somewhat bad tempered promo in Ehime saying they were “a fool, a baldie” and “even though I am an asshole with a lack of sleep, I am going to crush you all. Come and line up with your heads bowed. I am not going to accept your challenge! I’m not in the mood!” Marufuji is still being obsessively hated by Kenoh, and he certainly has taken it from him on this tour, but the person the five days really belongs to, is Katsuhiko Nakajima, who utterly obliterated Takashi Sugiura and did the cocky pin on him. I don’t think anyone has ever at any time or anywhere ever done this…

Nakajima, being Nakajima, wasn’t finished there as he draped the belt over him, and then threw Sugiura out of the ring. When Sugiura had recovered and scraped himself off of the floor, Nakajima had gotten the microphone, and standing on the turnbuckle he told him that he would continue to plague him like he did today, he would plague him again tomorrow and the day after that and forever afterwards.

At the end of the five day tour, having been thoroughly battered by Nakajima, Takashi Sugiura said tiredly he couldn’t keep up and says that he has had no choice but to get better, and rethink his strategy. I can only imagine that Sugiura is playing the spider and the fly…

“Black or white, this is a league.” (Hi69) 

The NOAH Juniors, despite being divided over Junior Global League, are all gunning for Kotaro Suzuki (Hitoshi Kumano says that he is going to “crush the beat so no sound comes out”). Kotaro Suzuki has dismissed even the freelancers amongst the NOAH Juniors as being “weak”.

The biggest build so far is Daisuke Harada vs Kotaro Suzuki, which will take place in Yokohama (Suzuki has already lost to the other “elder” of the Juniors, Hajime Ohara). Daisuke Harada in Kochi, delivered the message to Suzuki that he would beat him down, and then he would “tell you this”…Harada spoke silently to the camera and walked off. Kotaro Suzuki later said that he had no idea what he was saying, but would find out before they faced each other.

Suzuki has made unflattering comments about various NOAH juniors, Hitsohi Kumano is “heavy” and “bulging with fat”, and Tadasuke, due to “too much hair treatment” is “greasy”.

Kotaro Suzuki, known for being just as “slippery” as Tadasuke (maybe even more) has promised something special for his “vision of Korakuen” (he also posted a picture of himself and Yoshinari Ogawa out drinking and said they were “discussing strategy”), well, whatever he has planned, it is probably a lot better than what Tadasuke has promised, he says that he may have to “poison the rice of the winning candidates” if he doesn’t win.

Suzuki and Harada clashed in a tag match on the 18th September on the last day of tour with Harada getting in his face with the belt, and Suzuki playing the innocent after attacking him while standing on the ring apron.

There has been no rift between The Backbreakers, with Hitoshi Kumano defeating Hajime Ohara. Kumano said he had to win, even though Ohara’s neck was very bad.
Part of his reasons for wanting to beat Ohara was due to the comments made by Daisuke Harada when he was aiming for the GHC Junior Heavyweight championship a few months ago, Harada had basically said that Kumano was “below Ohara” or that he was his “subordinate”.

Between RATELS, Daisuke Harada is too busy to comment on Tadasuke beating him, and YO-HEY and HAYATA still appear to be friends (better description might be master and pet).

Junta Miyawaki is still to get his first win, but the boy has earned a lot of accolades with people praising him and saying he was “insanely good” in his matches. NOAH are really teasing his first win with many near pinfalls.  He has also been likened to a young Kenta Kobashi, which means that now in NOAH we have almost the Four Pillars for a new generation with Misawa (Kiyomiya) and Kawada (Kenoh) – now we just need a Taue.

NOAH have had very good attendances out in the provinces for this tour, not all venues have been sold out, but attendances have been very high. The promotion has a policy whereby they travel outside of the metropolitan areas (i.e. Tokyo, Osaka) and the big city areas and bring the show to the “provinces” (i.e. the countryside or the more rural areas on the edge of the suburbs). While this doesn’t always result in a full house (something a lot of people don’t seem to understand and they think its a reflection on NOAH ), what it does do is bring a company who unlike New Japan, All Japan, Big Japan etc doesn’t have a streaming service and\or a TV show, to people who wouldn’t see them otherwise. They have also attracted a lot of new fans too.

Global Junior League Scores (as of 18th September 2018)
YO-HEY: 7
Ikuto Hidaka: 6
Daisuke Harada: 6
Kotaro Suzuki: 6
Hitoshi Kumano: 4
Tadasuke: 4
Hi69: 4
Minoru Tanaka: 4
HAYATA: 3
Hajime Ohara: 2
Seiya Morohashi: 2
Junta Miyawaki: 0

NOAH are back on the 29th September at Radiant Hall, Yokohama, bell sounds at 17.30

NEWS

QUIET STORM CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
Quiet Storm has celebrated his own twenty years in wrestling on the 16th September, he debuted in 1998 (about a month after Naomichi Marufuji did) at roughly the age of seventeen, and while in America had spells with Ring of Honor, PWF and NYWC. Quiet Storm made his debut in his hometown of New York (he’s a Brooklyn boy I think). He came to Japan and trained with KAIENTAI DOJO, but had to return home due to a family situation. Aside from NOAH, his other affiliation is with Osaka Pro. He has been with NOAH since 2014.

His tag team partner, Mohammed Yone, presented him with flowers in the ring.

GHC BELT NEWS

Current champions

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
  • GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69

OTHER NEWS

Atsushi Kotoge will be holding his own fan event, further details to be announced (this is not a produce)

Comedy wrestler Kikutaro (who returned to Japan to have ear surgery), announced that before he leaves for America, he wants to appear in NOAH(he was once a regular in SEM, where he memorably teamed with KENTA, who had him thrown out of the building afterwards, Kikutaro made his way back in though), and a match has been arranged against Atsushi Kotoge for the 4th October at Korakuen Hall. Kotoge has asked Kikutaro whether he wants to join the “Revolutionary Army”. What should be a very funny match, will be broadcast on Samurai on the 11th October (FYI: Fuji TV no longer exists, it is now “ForJoyTV“)

Naomichi Marufuji and Doug Williams will be having what will be their last match ever in IPW on Sunday the 23rd September. Their history was made not in NOAH or even in Japan, but in Europe. You can read about their history in an article I have written, “Farewell Europe

Hajime Ohara, (who quite rightly is called “NOAH’s treasure”), has taken part in more municipal activities in Kawasawki by lecturing the Staff Hygiene Committee about exercise that can be done at the office and at home.

Thanks to Metal-Noah who very kindly sent me a copy of “Heir to The Ark”, Naomichi Marufuji’s biography, English translation has started, and can be found here. This is a work in progress, and I hope to update it daily. The book is ranked #3 on the Japanese book charts. TOUR TIDBITS

  • Tadasuke used a chair on Seiya Morohashi (which is unusual for him).
  • Whilst in Shikoku, a big crab turned up on Hi69’s cigarette packet (its probably HAYATA shape-shifting)
  • The ceiling was so low in Hakata Stalene that people’s feet and heads grazed it.
  • Naomichi Marufuji watched “the youngsters” going off together after NOAH arrived in Kochi, and said “the old man is going to bed”
  • Tadasuke announced to Kotaro Suzuki “Hey, Fool! I am today’s NOAH Junior!” (and Kotaro Suzuki beat him down in ten minutes with the Tiger Driver)
  • Naomichi Marufuji wrapped Yoshiki Inamura in Atsushi Kotoge’s cloak, and forced him to do the “Revolution Pose”, right in front of Kotoge.
  • YO-HEY’S rambling promos include him having all his teeth knocked out (he hasn’t), and likening himself to a 16th century Japanese warlord, a champion stallion racehorse which was put out to stud (don’t ask) and then forgetting what he was talking about. He is still convinced that he will be facing Yoshiki Inamura in the finals of Global Junior League, despite the fact that Inamura isn’t in Global Junior League.
  • Yoshinari Ogawa took Atsushi Kotoge’s cape and used it to wipe his boots, much to Kotoge’s horror.
  • Ehime Pro did an opening exhibition at Noah’s show at TEXPORT Imbari
  • Yoshiki Inamura getting good reviews.
  • Go Shiozaki went to shake hands with Kotoge, but Kotoge drew his hand back, wiped his head and walked off (Shiozaki, notorious for giggling, couldn’t keep a straight face)
  • NOAH have had a crack down on people filming at the event, Atsushi Kotoge said “Heroes obey the rules”.
  • Masao Inoue is holding another bowling event, wrestlers participating will be Atsushi Kotoge, Kaito Kiyomiya and Tadasuke
  • On September 17th, Atsushi Kotoge, Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya went to a sports bar and spent until the early hours watching classic Four Pillars era All Japan (the match Kotoge photographed on the TV was Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi on the 21st October 1997. When this match took place, Kotoge and Kenoh would have been 12, Kitamiya 14 and Nakajima 9).
  • Cody Hall and Maybach Taniguchi now have a finisher called “The Hooligans Bomb”.

  • On the long drive back from Tottori to Tokyo, (about nine to eleven hours), Takashi Sugiura photographed Masao Inoue at the urinal (twice), and then predictably, things got even worse when Marufuji filmed Inoue eating an ice cream on the bus, and then pausing to look briefly at a passing woman. Between Marufuji and Sugiura, this turned into Inoue thinking about “licking” women…

Lets just end this newsletter here until next week.


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: G1 Climax 28, part 11!

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NJPW G1 Climax 28 cover

NJPW and AXS bring us the B Block finals! Will it be Tetsuya Naito of one of the Golden Lovers who qualifies for THE G1 Climax 28 Finals?!

 

This coverage of the G1 Climax 28 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.

Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.
  • Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS set the scene for this final night of B Block action!

It all comes down to this! The Best Bout Machine lost to Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano in a row, though one was in part thanks to Tama Tonga. However, the IWGP Heavyweight Champion is still one win away from being in his third consecutive G1 Climax Finals. That win must come at the expense of Kenny Omega’s best friend, Kota Ibushi, in this Golden Lovers dream match. Ibsuhi could take the entire block with his own win, but there’s also last year’s G1 Climax champion. Tetsuya Naito can make his own repeat appearance if he defeats Zack Sabre Jr, who would love to play spoiler with his submission style. Who will meet Hiroshi Tanahashi in the G1 Climax 28 Finals?!

 

Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr!

The charismatic leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon takes on Suzuki-Gun’s Submission Master, a familiar match up from this year’s New Japan Cup. Naito takes his time with his attire, as usual, but ZSJ is patient. The referee finishes his check of both men, rings the bell, and we begin.

ZSJ rushes Naito then throws him out. He pursues but Naito slips back out to then troll ZSJ with a game of cat ‘n’ mouse. ZSJ grows frustrated and starts kicking railing like his mentor, Minoru Suzuki. Taka Michinoku calms Zack down and gets him back to the ring. Naito tells ZSJ to return, saying time is of the essence. ZSJ returns but Naito speeds things up. They both run and dodge, then Naito Tranquilos! But ZSJ grabs the arm for the armbar! Naito gets the ropes for the ropebreak and ZSJ mocks Tranquilo before letting Naito go. Naito takes his time returning, to again troll ZSJ. Red Shoes counts but Naito waits to return at about 10. ZSJ rushes Naito again for a headlock. Naito powers out and arm-drags ZSJ around. ZSJ headbutts then European Uppercuts, but he runs into another arm-dag.

Naito has ZSJ down, but ZSJ reverses into a headscissor. ZSJ squeezes, then stands to twist! Naito writhes while ZSJ catches his breath. ZSJ goes after the legs and gets a Queen Angelito figure four. He goes after the arms, and he uses a surfboard style lift! ZSJ goes for a cover but can’t get the angle, so he shifts to a leg based double armbar. Naito manages another ropebreak, so ZSJ backs off. ZSJ toys with Naito then gives him a EuroUpper. Naito chops back, so ZSJ trips him up and twists his neck again. ZSJ lets Naito get up to then float over to a cravat. Naito works his way up to arm-drag out. ZSJ runs in but misses, Naito jump kicks but it’s ZSJ who sweeps! The New Japan Cup champ has the G1 Climax 27 champ down and out while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns and Naito gets back up at 13. He returns to the ring at 15 but ZSJ stands on him to then get the ankle lock. ZSJ shifts to a Half Crab that shifts to an STF that shifts to a crossface. Naito reverses with a roll, TWO! ZSJ has a grounded cravat that he bridges and then rolls back. He gets a headscissor as Naito sits up, then grabs an ankle. They both roll and Naito is still in the headscissor. ZSJ squeezes but then Naito gets his own headscissor. ZSJ pries his way up and out and back to a half crab. He just stands on Naito’s head and body now to humiliate more than hurt. Naito gets up and chops ZSJ. ZSJ headbutts, EuroUppers, then whips. Naito reverses and reels ZSJ in for the backbreaker and dropkick! Both men are down as fans rally.

Naito stands and fires of on ZSJ. He whips but ZSJ reverses, only for Naito to come out with the headscssiors. Jump kick, leg sweep, and swinging dropkick! Naito poses while ZSJ checks his mouth. Naito elbows ZSJ, then brings him back up. ZSJ reverses the neckbreaker to a facelock, but Naito reels him in for the atomic drop.  Naito runs in at the corner but has to block ZSJ’s boots. ZSJ kicks Naito but Naito holds on. Naito spits, so ZSJ kicks more. Naito turns him sideways for a draping backbreaker! Then a standing neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Naito while he thinks of what to do next. Naito circles ZSJ and brings him up in a waistlock. ZSJ gets a standing switch to full nelson but Naito arm-drags out. They collide, elbow for elbow, and back again. Naito rolls for the kick but into an STF!

Naito drags himself around but ZSJ switches to part Rings of Saturn! He keeps Naito’s face back with a leg but Naito uses a leg to get the ropes. ZSJ again lets Naito go, and both men are down from exhaustion. Taka coaches ZSJ up but the fans are on Naito’s side still. ZSJ stands first and kicks at Naito. Naito takes them in stride, a grin on his face. Naito fires a forearm and a back elbow and ZSJ falls. Fans fire up as Naito throws more elbows, but ZSJ comes back with a EuroUpper. Naito elbows, ZSJ falls again. Now Naito toys with ZSJ, but ZSJ SLAPS Naito. ZSJ fires EuroUppers but ends up in a backslide. He rolls through but runs into the tornado DDT! Naito drags ZSJ up. Hammerlock and lift, but ZSJ counters with a guillotine that becomes a triangle hold!

Naito endures the squeeze while ZSJ prevents a cover. Naito uses power to lift but ZSJ wrenches back. ZSJ brings Naito back down and Naito starts to fade. Fans keep rallying, Naito jackknifes! TWO, and ZSJ penalty kicks Naito down! ZSJ drags Naito back up, but Naito suplexes into the dragon sleeper, for a reverse DDT! Fans cheer Naito while Taka shouts for ZSJ to get up. Naito sits up but ZSJ follows. They stand, and Naito elbows ZSJ again. ZSJ gives a EuroUpper but that arm is hurting. Naito chops but ZSJ slaps. Naito SLAPS, then hammerlocks, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!! Naito fires himself up as he drags ZSJ up. ZSJ sees it coming, and Peles the arm. Naito rolling kicks then whips. ZSJ reverses, catches the flying forearm, into an Octopus hold!

Naito endures being bent and stretched, but ZSJ’s arm is also bothering him. Fans rally for Naito and he manages to step towards ropes. ZSJ does what he can to pull on Naito, such as pulling the right arm all the way back. Naito still steps forward, but ZSJ pulls again. Naito uses one last effort and gets another ropebreak. ZSJ lets him go, and both men fall from exhaustion. Fans and Taka rally their favorites up again, and ZSJ sits up first. Naito follows but ZSJ penalty kicks Naito right back down! And he does it again! But Naito still stands. ZSJ goes for a third but gets caught into a German Suplex. Naito whips but ZSJ reverses, to get the flying forearms! Naito drags ZSJ up, arm wrench, but ZSj counters into the EuroClutch! TWO!? Naito misses his enziguri, ZSJ EuroClutches again, TWO!?

ZSJ EuroUppers but gets an enziguri. Naito backs up, runs in, but ZSJ slips out of the tilt-o-whirl to Octopus. Naito slips out this time to DESTINO! But he’s not done, here comes another D– no, Michinoku Driver! Cover, ZSJ wins!!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. by pinfall; ZSJ earns 2 points, Naito earns 0

The Submission Master uses a shout out to his coach and he spoils Naito’s chances! There will not be a repeat for the previous G1 Climax champion, and this leaves the way open for one half of the Golden Lovers!

 

Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi!

They may not always have been a team, but the Golden Lovers have always been friends and rivals. The Cleaner is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but the Golden Star won’t give up his own desire for that belt. A dream match becomes reality, but who will live the dream of competing in the tournament finals?

The bell rings, and fans fire up as the two friends take a moment to stare down. They circle, Omega lunges in and gets the leg. He floats to a facelock and holds on as they go around. He goes to a waistlock and counters Ibushi’s standing switch. Omega gets a half nelson then another facelock as they stand. Ibushi has Omega on the ropes, but honors the ropebreak. But Omega brings him back in with a headlock. Ibushi powers out, Omega runs him over, but Ibushi kips up. Things speed up, Omega holds rope but still runs into a dropkick! Omega bails out but comes right back in to chop Ibushi! Omega whips but Ibushi holds ropes, so Omega chops again. The whip goes through but Ibushi dodges to kick. Ibushi kicks but is blocked, Omega chops. Omega runs but into the kick!

Omega bails out but longer this time, so Ibushi slingshots out! He crashes and burns, Omega saw that one coming. Omega brings Ibushi up to put him into railing. Then he scoop slams him onto the apron! Omega drags Ibushi back up and into the ring. Fans fire up as Omega returns and runs, Kotaro Krusher! Cover, TWO! Omega keeps his cool while fans cheer Ibushi on. Omega clubs Ibushi, then stomps him. He kicks Ibushi around, but Ibushi grows stronger with every hit. Omega runs, and dropkicks Ibushi down! Ibushi stands, kicks and snapmares Omega, to then kick him swiftly in the neck. Omega kicks and cravats but Ibushi counters to snapmare and kick, kick, kick! Omega gets up to shove and punch.

Now it’s a brawl back and forth, but Omega kicks low. Omega boots Ibushi into a corner, then runs in. Ibushi goes up and over to then powerslam and moonsault! But onto knees! Omega knows Ibushi so well, and he drags Ibushi up for fireman’s carry. “You Can’t Escape! Rolling senton, but the moonsault gets knees! Ibushi knows Omega so well, too! Ibushi runs, but into a huricanrana. But Ibushi then comes back with his own huricanrana! Omega ends up outside again, and Ibushi runs, but Omega intercepts the golden triangle for a full nelson! Ibushi holds ropes and elbows Omega back. Omega chops Ibushi’s back, then Electric Chair lifts! But Ibushi fights him off again, to then deadlift. Omega fights out with uppercuts, then has Ibushi on the shoulder, apron package tombstone!! Both Golden Lovers are down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Omega climbs up top. Ibushi slowly stands, but he gets the missile dropkick to the face! Then cross fisherman, Aoi Shoudou! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi lives and fans fire up for him. Omega grits his teeth, takes aim and… BANG! Omega runs, but he misses. Ibushi waistlocks but Omega standing switches. Omega shoves and chops Ibushi in the back! He whips and V-Triggers to the back! Omega drags Ibushi up, Electric Chair, but Ibushi resists. Pop-up, Croyt’s Wrath! With the bridge! TWO!! Ibushi narrowly escapes, but Omega stays focused. V-Trigger! Then the double underhook, but Ibushi resists again. They speed up, running DDT! Ibushi rolls out of the ring, but Omega hears the Terminator drums. Omega rises, builds speed, and FLIES! Direct hit on Ibushi!

Both men are down but Omega stands first. Omega drags Ibushi up and in, and fans rally up. Omega climbs up top again, but Ibushi PELE to stop him! Ibushi climbs up to join Omega, but Omega resists whatever lift Ibushi is after. The Young Bucks are concerned at ringside as Omega starts to shovel Ibushi up. Ibushi slips off to chop and SUPER STEINER! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up again and Omega bails out. Ibushi runs, Golden Triangle! Direct hit on Omega! The Golden Lovers are down again, but Ibushi is up first now. Ibushi puts Omega in, then climbs up top. Ibushi springboards but Omega catches him into the Electric Chair! But Ibushi fights out fast to strike fest and roundhouse Omega down. Knee-sault! Cover, TWO!!

Omega survives that innovative knee drop, but Ibushi isn’t out of ideas yet. Ibushi drags Omega up, with double wrists, but Omega dodges the knee. Ibushi dodges to Pele again! He grabs Omega, but Omega slips out of the bomb to V-Trigger. Ibushi blocks but gets the second V-Trigger. Omega full nelsons but Ibushi fights out. Omega heel kicks him into a corner! Then from corner to corner, V-Trigger! Omega drags Ibushi up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Omega sits Ibushi up, puts on the full nelson, but Ibushi fights out again. Ibushi elbows but Omega headbutts. Omega stands up now, another attempt at the full nelson, SUPER SNAP DRAGON! But Ibushi stands right up!

The Golden Lovers collide with double clotheslines, then do it again. Omega kicks the other one away to V-Trigger! Ibushi reverses to snap German! But Omega’s up, so he gets a Half ‘n Half, and CLOBBERING CLOTHESLINE! Ibushi has control while we go to break!

NJPW on AXS returns and Ibushi drags Omega up. Ibushi wants the bomb, and gets the Golden Star sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO!? Even Ibushi is shocked. But he drags Omega up again with the double wristlocks, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, TWO!?! Ibushi cannot understand how Omega survives. Ibushi uncovers his knee and brings Omega back up. Omega resists because he knows what’s coming. Ibushi stomps and clubs Omega. Omega fights back with forearms and elbows. Omega throws more of those, but then Ibushi fires back! They go back and forth, but neither man backs down. Omega hits, but Ibushi responds. They give shorter and faster forearms now but neither man lets go of the wristlock. Omega headbutts but Ibushi kicks! Ibushi kicks but gets a V-Trigger! He staggers, but chops!

Ibushi fires palm strikes and body shots. He runs, but into the V-Trigger! Omega runs again, but into a roundhouse! They’re both down, but fans fire up for Ibushi. Ibushi hears them and decides to climb up top. Phoenix Splash flops as Omega evades. Omega stands, to V-Trigger Ibushi in the back! Then suddenly, butterfly piledriver! Cover, TWO!! Now Omega is shocked that Ibushi lives. Omega pulls his own knee pad down, to V-Trigger! Then Electric Chair, but Ibushi fights again. Reverse-Rana is blocked by sheer will, and Omega makes it like a driver! Cover, TWO!?! Omega aims again, BANG! Another V-Trigger! Then another Electric Chair, but Ibushi holds ropes. Omega climbs!? Ibushi senses this and fights for his life. Ibushi positions himself, SUPER double stomps!

Omega barely stays on the top rope, but Ibushi comes back up to join him. Ibushi drags Omega up, in a double underhook, SUPER TIGER BOMB!! Cover, TWO??! But how?! Ibushi keeps going, dragging Omega up with both hands, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!

Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; Ibushi earns 2 points, Omega earns 0

The Golden Lovers dream match ends with Ibushi scoring a victory over the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! With this, Ibushi wins the B Block and qualifies for THE G1 Climax 27 Finals! Ibushi meets Hiroshi Tanahashi for that chance at the title at Wrestle Kingdom. But because they’re great friends, Omega celebrates with Ibushi before letting him take the ring alone.

Ibushi speaks.

“Kenny, Matt, Nick,” and everyone in the Elite, “Thank you very much.” Ibushi thanks all the wrestlers in NJPW, too. Ibushi still lives in the G1 Climax, and vows to win the finals the very next day. He keeps things short and sweet so that he and the Elite can all leave together. Can the Star surpass The Ace to then give us a sequel to this amazing match? Or will The Once in a Century Talent score his third G1 Climax championship?

 

Backstage interviews.

The Golden Elite are all together, as Omega notes that he somehow made it here on his own power. He admits he doesn’t like that he lost, especially as champion. But losing to his tag partner and best friend, Ibushi, and knowing he goes to the finals to face Tanahashi, makes Omega happy. Omega gives his full support, and will be in Ibushi’s corner. Ibushi accepts his friend’s support, and is himself very happy. He can’t believe he won. It doesn’t seem real yet. But Ibushi has made it to the finals, and again vows to win it all. He’s been focused on that single goal, he just has one match to go. Was tonight’s dream match a preview of Wrestle Kingdom? Or perhaps something sooner rather than later?

 


 

My Thoughts:

An amazing night, especially factoring in the context of the incredible action. Naito VS ZSJ in a New Japan Cup goes the same way as the match in the New Japan Cup, but naturally escalated up. Naito was well-prepared for the submissions and got the ropebreak quite a few times, but in the end ZSJ wins out. Given the points, it makes sense to keep Naito out of the running. It adds drama to Omega VS Ibushi, because then it becomes another “win and you’re in.” Actually, B Block parallels A Block in that respect, as Jay White was the third man who could complicate Okada VS Tanahashi, until he lost to Evil. But Naito is fine not going into the finals again, as fans still love him, and there’s plenty of unfinished business with other wrestlers, such as Chris Jericho over the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

Then Omega VS Ibushi is definitely worthy of a block finals. The story was already there with them being such close friends and tag team partners. The counters, the back and forth, it was so great. Ibushi benefits the most from winning here because he was perhaps the underdog against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and now earns the right to challenge Omega even without the G1 Climax contract for Wrestle Kingdom. Of course, Tomohiro Ishii has a similar claim he can make, so Ibushi can wait for one of the bigger NJPW events to give us the epic sequel.

My Score: 8.9/10


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Lucha Libre

Joe’s Lucha Libre Weekly: News & Opinions

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Joe Lucha Libre Report
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CMLL

CMLL Anniversary

We saw at the anniversary show, in predictable fashion, Rush and Cavernario defeat Volador and Matt Taven in the hair vs hair match. Everyone knew what the result would be which helped kill intrigue in the match because as discussed before, if CMLL was willing to hair Rush lose his hair it would be against LA Park and if he were to lose it against anybody else it wouldn’t make sense. So Volador and Taven lost 2 falls to 1 and at the end of the match, as a way to weasel out of it Taven turned on Volador as if it was his plan all along but they weren’t going to stand for it. I wonder how much Taven had his head shaved, I suppose we shall see on the next Ring of Honor live event. The show was pretty close to a sell out containing 16,000 fans.

The Co-main event saw Pentagon, Fenix, and Diamante Azul defeating LA Park, his son, and Caristico 2 falls to 1 in what was a very good match. LA Park, for a man who is very large in his older age can still put on some very good matches and held his own in their with the much young Fenix and Pentagon and the always entertaining Caristico. The match before that which was the Kaos Klan vs Los Guerrero’s for the trios title. This wasn’t in technical terms a very good match, but it had heat on it. One of the issues was the finish was a complete let down and out of nowhere. Not in a good way either, sometimes out of nowhere finishes are good if they’re done during hot moments, but this one was just a standard pin with feet on the ropes.

CMLL Friday Show/Future

The top three matches for this show will feature a rematch with Kaos Klan and Los Guerrero’s. This is the third time this match is happening in a short span so I wonder if they will have Los Guerrero’s win here after potentially swerving the fans at the Anniversary show. It was a weak finish and wasn’t a good match so I have to imagine that they’re going to put forth a better performance this time. However, a lot of the men involved are much older and broken down so they need the pomp and circumstances more. We also have a lightning round match between Mistico and Negro Casas so that should be something. They must be going for a program with them.

In the main event we have, Atlantis, King Fenix, and Diamante Azul vs Rush, Cavernario, and El Terrible. I wonder if my theory about building a program with Rush and Atlantis for next year starts and if maybe they move towards Fenix and Cavernario. I can only imagine how good those singles matches would be. LA Park worked the Arena Puebla show with Rush in the match. This was a very good match, perhaps an anniversary show standard.

There was a lot of instances in the match where Park and Rush had a show down one on one in the ring. It was a very long match and very good. Rush won with a low blow and Park then cut a promo after the match challenging him hair vs mask again to which CMLL cut his mic. But it magically turned on when Rush got the mic. Park was upset and left. They are promoting LA Park and Hijo Del LA Park vs Rush and Cavernario next week for the Monday Puebla show. So it looks like they’re going back to this well for financial purposes, who knows if the hair vs mask match will ever happen.

AAA

AAA has announced their big October Show, the Antonio Pena tribute show, and it has a pretty big card, with the main event being Jeff Jarrett vs Dr. Wagner Jr in a hair vs hair match. I’m almost positive Jarrett is losing that match especially if they’re building towards Park vs Wagner at the next Triplemania. Wagner is gonna need to have more hair grown out to make it a viable match on paper. He doesn’t have much hair so why would the fans buy his hair vs the value of Park’s mask? I feel like there’d be so much more intrigue with Psycho Clown vs Park mask vs mask, but it all depends on when and who Park wants to lose to. Everyone seems to agree that it has to be to Rush whenever the time is.

Also on that card which we’ll preview more in the coming weeks, Park will team with Psycho Clown against Murder Clown and Kevin Kross. So something is going to have to happen in the coming weeks that pairs Kross with Murder Clown because they were just attacking each other during the last encounter with Wagner and Jeff Jarrett. A three way tag match for the tag titles will happen and Bandido and Flamita will actually get their chance. There was rumblings wondering if AAA would remember the stipulation on the Triplemania show. There’s also a four way match for the women’s title. More info in the coming weeks as the card gets built on the TV tapings.

AAA on Twitch 9/21

We will have a women’s match to start the show, which seems to be typical featuring, Keyra, Lady Maravilla, and Starfire vs Faby Apache, La Hiedra, and Lady Shani. We get a six man tag team match next which will be action packed featuring, Emperador Azteca, Demus, and Ciclon Ramierz vs Aerostar, Argenis, and Nino Hamburguesa. The next match is a three way tag match between Texano Jr and Escorpion vs Maximo and Mamba vs El Hijo De Dr. Wagner Jr and Golden Magic.

The co-main event is another six man tag between, Laredo Kid, Tayrys, and Hijo Del LA Park vs La Parka, Pagano, and Joe Lider. Any match with Joe Lider and Pagano is bound to be crazy. The main event sees LA Park teaming with Electro Shock vs Psycho Clown and El Hijo Del Fantasma. The theme of this show is Lucha Libre Elite vs AAA. They’re playing up an invasion storyline. They have another show on September 30th but I will preview that one next week.

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