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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (1/22/18)

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WWE Raw 25 Alexa Bliss Roman Reigns The Undertaker Shawn Michaels

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • 8 Woman Tag: Absolution, Nia Jax & Alicia Fox VS Mickie James, Bayley, Sasha Banks & Asuka; Mickie, Bayley, Sasha & Asuka win.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns VS The Miz w/ The Miztourage; The Miz wins and becomes the new WWE IC Champion.
  • Bray Wyatt VS WOKEN Hardy; Wyatt wins.
  • Titus Worldwide VS Heath Slater & Rhyno; wins.
  • The Balor Club VS The Revival; The Balor Club wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE Raw Preshow exclusively on the WWE Network

Renee Young, David Otunga & New York’s own Peter Rosenberg kick us off on this historic occasion in Barclays, but Jerry “The King” Lawler & Good Ol’ JR are in the Manhattan Center!

The fans chant “Twenty-Five! Twenty-Five!” as WWE promises #Raw25 to be historic, unpredictable and exciting!

 

Backstage interview with The APA!

“What is the Raw 25th Anniversary without the APA?” Nothing. JBL & Ron Simmons have been around a long time, protecting people and making cash. Mr. T, Rebecca Romain, and best of all, everyone had to knock on the door regardless of who they are. Should they come back one last night? Simmons wants to show some punk rookies some manners. JBL is onboard, but JBL doesn’t have the keys. Simmons doesn’t either! The APA head out to find the keys, leaving Charly in charge. Is the APA returning for this historic night!?

 

Bayley speaks.

Sunday may be the Women’s Royal Rumble, but the Huggable One is excited for tonight’s 25th Anniversary of Raw! She is star struck, as she meets Trish Stratus! Bayley grew up watching Trish and Lita as the top two women. Trish thanks Bayley and says she’s proud to see Bayley doing the same. Will Bayley get over being star struck long enough to make an impact going into the Royal Rumble?

 

The New Day speaks.

Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston & Big E are all ready for #Raw25! The history, the legends, and the moments, just like their moment of becoming the longest reigning W, W, E , Tag, Team, Champions~! Not to mention it has been ten years of Kofi Kingston himself, “baybyyyyyyyyyyyyyy~….!”

 

Monday Night Raw main show

The Manhattan Center starts us off!

The place Monday Night Raw debuted is just one of the sites where this 25th anniversary celebration takes place!

But the Barclays Center is rocking just as hard!

Commentary returns to ringside, and we welcome both Stephanie and Shane McMahon in the ring.

The Commissioners of Raw and SmackDown stand together and give a shout out to Brooklyn! The McMahons thank the various WWE superstars that have made this show a success, as well as the “unsung heroes” behind the scenes. They also thank fans young and old for their support. Now to take a quick look back on the 25 glorious years of Monday Night Raw!

Stephanie and Shane thank the fans again, but promise Raw is just getting started. There is one very special person they should thank above all. The one person who had the determination and vision to make Raw a success. This one person is why Stephanie and Shane are even here at all, and yes, they mean the Chairman and Creator of Raw, VINCE MCMAHON!

“Twenty-five years, that is truly amazing!” Vince hears the “Thank you, Vince!” chants and Stephanie wants Vince to know it was thank you. Well Vince is normally not the kind to pat himself on the back or smell the roses, but tonight, he’s gonna do it all! But before he leaves, Stephanie & Shane have a surprise! This plaque is a gift on behalf of everyone, from Stephanie to Shane to every fan around the world, that commemorates the 25 years of Raw. The fans again chant “Thank you, Vince!” Isn’t it nice? It’s a plaque.

Yes, a commemorative plaque. That seems a bit cheap. Well, this is Brooklyn. Fans don’t like that. So a bunch of cheapskates gave to “GoFundMe” and only got a plaque? “Yes! Yes!” Plaque is what’s on all your teeth and in your arteries! After all Vince has done and this is what he gets? Vince has one person to thank, and it’s not anyone in his family or in the back! Now Brooklyn calls Vince “Asshole! Asshole!” Stephanie doesn’t need to translate that. Vince thanks himself and only himself! There is not ONE person– GLASS SHATTER!

Stone Cold Steve Austin heads right to the ring! The fans go nuts while Austin stands up on the turnbuckles and gives those iconic middle fingers! Vince has Austin calm it down, but the fans are losing their minds. “Don’t encourage him!” Vince sees the look in Austin’s eyes. It has been some time since they’ve both been in the ring. “What?!” Austin looks great, by the way, but Vince admits he’s not. Vince has heart problems, some kind of murmur, not to mention his brittle bones and arthritis. He even lives in a retirement community now. Vince hopes Austin will go easy on a senior citizen. Not only that, but Vince also points out that Shane is still in his prime! Doesn’t he look great? Shane and Austin shake hands, and Austin even raises Shane’s hand. The fans cheer, then the Stunner!

Vince lets that happen, and even gets Austin those beers. Brooklyn wants that Stunner “One More Time!” Shane can’t take another Stunner. Vince cracks the beers open, and even excuses the splatter on his suit. They drink, then hug, then raise hands, then have another drink and hug, but… “Stun His Ass!” “Yes! Yes!” Vince asks kindly not to, but no dice. STUNNER!

Shane manages to stand up, and has himself some beer, before another Stunner! A truly enjoyable start to the night, what other memorable moments happen before Raw is over?

 

8 Woman Tag: Absolution, Nia Jax & Alicia Fox VS Mickie James, Bayley, Sasha Banks & Asuka!

The Royal Rumble makes history on Sunday with the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble match. Which women of Raw will get the last bit of momentum before this momentous occasion?

Nia goes right after Asuka, and it is an eight woman brawl!

The referee tries to restore order but that’s difficult as he’s outnumbered. The teams settle down and regroup, and it is The Empress of Tomorrow to start against Absolution’s Gladiator. The bell rings and Asuka fires off on Sonya Deville! Asuka runs, and hits Sonya with those hips. Sonya is against ropes as Asuka kicks away. She slips out of the ring and regroups with Paige while we go to break.

Raw returns and Mandy goes after Asuka, only to get kick after kick. Mandy reversee a whip but Asuka uses that wipe out Alicia and Sonya with a hip attack!

Asuka gets Mandy with the pop-up knee strike, then a sliding shining wizard! The fans fire up as Asuka tags in The Boss. They double suplex Mandy, Mandy scrambles to tag Nia! The Brutal Beauty has the fans fired up as she shoves Sasha. Sasha kicks back, kicks low, running knee of her own, TWO. Nia spinebusters Sasha down! She stalks Sasha before flipping her over for a cover, TWO. Nia drags Sasha up and puts her in a corner, Mandy tags in. Mandy stomps a mudhole into Sasha, then tags in Sonya. Absolution works together to mug Sasha with body shots. Tag to Alicia, Ms. Crazy like a Fox gives Sasha the Northern Lights!

TWO! Foxy keeps on Sasha with a chinlock, but fans rally for The Boss. Sasha endures the squeezing and thrashing while Bayley gets fans going stronger. Foxy throws Sasha down then covers, ONE, so it’s back to the chinlock. The fans keep rallying, Sasha gets up while the fans sing for Bayley. Sasha fights and throws Foxy off but Foxy boots her down! Cover, TWO, but Foxy keeps on Sasha with that chinlock. Sasha gets up again and backs Foxy down into a buckle. Foxy throws Sasha down again, then taunts her partners. Mickie rushes Foxy but is kept back, we go to break again.

Raw returns to see Foxy still in control of Sasha. Sasha fights back form a corner, then hops up but Sonya shoves her down! Bayley goes after Sonya, Asuka and Mickie get Mandy and Nia! Alicia gets caught in the Bank Statement!

Alicia taps, Sasha’s team wins! And then Asuka turns on her team to throw them out a la the Rumble! Sasha tries but fails to hit a Bank Statement, Asuka throws her out, too!

Will the Empress remain undefeated even after facing 29 other women?

 

Kurt Angle speaks to a referee in his office.

The Raw General Manager wants tonight to be about celebration, not chaos. With Brock Lesnar in the same ring with Kane and Braun Strowman tonight, Angle wants to keep something from happening. The referee assures Angle things will remain calm. Then Angle is visited by The Coach, Johnathan Coachman!

The former GM is honored to be back and see his old friends again. Speaking of, here comes Harvey and The Brooklyn Brawler! And even Teddy Long! The guests don’t stop there, it’s Brother Love! He loves everyone here! Wait, there’s more. It’s the BOOGEYMAN!! And he’s still eating worms… He shares some with Coach before taking his leave. Awkward…

Who else will surprise us with an appearance tonight?

 

Raw returns to the Manhattan Center.

The Empire State building glows red for Raw, and The King hopes he gets to see some “puppies” in person. That aside, celebrating Raw wouldn’t be complete about celebrating The Undertaker, who has been here since the original episode. Whether he was alongside Paul Bearer, alongside his Brother of Destruction, Kane, or standing alone against any and all challengers, The Phenom is always iconic. And, he’s here! The fans in the Manhattan Center lose their minds as The Deadman walks out to the ring.

They give Undertaker a standing ovation as he stands in the center, and then chant his name. Undertaker then speaks, and they fall silent. “The carnage began on this sacred ground of evil, 25 years ago.” And for those 25 years, Undertaker dug holes to bury his foes. For 25 years, Taker would rip legends off their pedestals and throw them down. From Stone Cold to Mick Foley to even his brother Kane, they all “answered to the Reaper.” “They all tried, they all failed.” Undertaker says that on this sacred ground, he declares, “for all of those who have fallen”, it is time to “Rest! In! Peace…!” The Undertaker is cryptic as ever, what do his words here tonight mean for the future?

 

The APA hang out with Slater & Rhyno.

They also play cards. Read ’em and weep, JBL! Pair of Threes! Full House. The APA win the pot. But Slater has kids! Well their daddy’s broke. A knock on the door, and in comes a wad of cash. From the Million Dollar Man, Ted DeBiase! JBL deals him in, for old times’ sake.

 

Raw welcomes back former General Managers!

First, John “People Power” Laurinaitis! Second, current NXT GM William Regal. And the controversial Eric Bischoff! Oh, and a surprise appearance by General Manager of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan!

Of course, The Miz ruins Bryan’s time in the spotlight as he comes out to have his time.

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Roman Reigns VS The Miz w/ The Miztourage!

The Big Dog has the title in His Yard, but the Hollywood A-Lister wants it back. Which man will make history on this historic night?

The bell rings, the two circle, and fans duel over whether or not Roman sucks. Roman and Miz tie up, Roman shoves Miz to a corner. Miz wants Roman to stay back while he gathers himself, and the referee obliges. The two circle again, fans continue to be thunderous both ways. Miz slips out of the ring but Roman grabs his hair, so Miz elbows him away. Miz climbs up, jumps, but gets rocked by an uppercut! Roman looms over The Miz as he gets to ropes, then slips outside. Bo Dallas won’t allow the Drive-By, so he takes a right hand! Axel stays back, Miz mises the wrecking ball dropkick, Roman rocks him with another uppercut. Axel distracts this time, Miz boots Roman down. Miz puts Roman into steel steps!

The Miztourage bark around Roman as we go to break.

Raw returns to see Miz and Roman corner to corner. Roman rallies with big lariats. He whips but Miz reverses, only to get run over by the leaping lariat. Roman stalks Miz into another corner, and gives those close-range clotheslines. He hits all ten, then runs for the boot! The Miztourage looks worried while the fans are a thunderous mix.

Roman takes aim, locks and loads, but The Miz escapes. Roman pursues on the outside, Drive-By! Miz falls down, but Roman keeps eyes on The Miztourage. Roman puts Miz in the ring, takes aim and runs in, only to hit post! Miz uses the ropes for leverage as he rolls Roman up! TWO! Miz recovers, walking off the dropkick while catching his breath. Roman sits up, Miz starts the “It Kicks!”

Miz runs in for the buzzsaw but gets blocked, into a powerbomb! TWO, and Roman is shocked. Miz regroups with The Miztourage while Roman catches his breath. Roman slips out of the ring again, and gives The Miztourage the Drive-By! He throws Axel into the LED apron, and then Bo into the post so hard he goes flying! Roman throws Axel into the timekeeper’s area, but then gets blindsided by Miz’s boot! Miz puts Roman in the ring, hurries for the Finale but Roman throws him off. SUPERMAN PUNCH! Cover, TWO, and Roman is shocked again. Both men slowly stir, and Roman is the first to stand up. The fans cheer and jeer while Roman gets to a corner. Bo returns to anchor Roman, Miz hits his signature corner clothesline! The referee reprimands The Miztourage, then ejects them!

Miz is devastated, he no longer has his henchmen to help him. Roman rolls him up, TWO, SUPERMNA PUNCH for The Miztourage! SKULL-CRUSHING FINALE!! TWO?! The Miz cannot believe he didn’t steal that win! Brooklyn declares “This is Awesome!” then return to dueling between who likes Roman and who likes Miz. Miz tries for another but Roman powers out with back elbows. Miz staggers, Roman runs in, but into an exposed buckle?! SKULL-CRUSHING FINALE AGAIN! The Miz wins!! He is once again THE Intercontinental Champion! The Miz becomes the second-highest Intercontinental Champion behind only Chris Jericho, can he make this reign last through Wrestlemania?

 

The APA’s backstage poker game has expanded.

Heath Slater, Rhyno, Ted DeBiase Sr, The Usos, MVP and even Jeff Hardy are back there playing. Slater has Ace High, MVP has even higher. Who else will join this star studded game of cards?

 

WWE Presents Christian & The Peep Show!

Captain Charisma hears a lot of Peeps in Brooklyn. He misses the WWE Universe. Christian knows about being a tag team champion, and has seen it all. Or so he thought, because tonight’s guests are the Raw Tag Team Champions, who won their first night as a team. His guests are Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins!

The Gold-Blooded Son and The Architect walk to the ring and shake Christian’s hand before taking a seat. Rollins is happy to be here, Jordan takes over, and fans boo. Jordan knows this is about the upcoming title match, but before that he wishes to say it’s an honor. However, the fans drown him out. Jordan continues on, he’s also honored to be in the presence of all those legends. He also thanks the fans for their “continued support”. Jordan also congratulates his father, Kurt Angle, for assembling such amazing talent, despite what the fans think. He wants the fans to give a round of applause to Angle, the fans aren’t playing along. That’s when The Bar decides to come out!

Cesaro & Sheamus speak. “Jordan, Jordan, Jordan.” He needs to slow down, he has it all wrong. Those superstars and legends are here to hang out with Sheamus & Cesaro, because “we ARE the Bar!” Funny enough, those same superstars and legends all expect Cesaro & Sheamus to take back those title belts, and thanked them in advance. Angle doesn’t suck, Jordan sucks! Brooklyn agrees, “You Suck! You Suck!” Rollins tries to keep Jordan calm, but Jordan still starts a fight! Rollins helps him out, then DIVES on Sheamus! Jordan grabs Cesaro, Rollins flies in, but Cesaro evades!

Jordan goes down from the flying knee, and Brooklyn celebrates. The Bar grins and gloats on their way out, will they leave Philadelphia with gold?

 

Backstage interview with Alexa Bliss.

The Goddess knows history is being made on Sunday with the Women’s Rumble. Does Alexa think she’ll still be champion at Wrestlemania to face the winner? Is that an insult? Alexa is champion and Goddess, but here comes a Champion who is also a Queen! Charlotte Flair lets Alexa know that the only reason Alexa is champion is because they’re on separate shows. Charlotte doubts Alexa will make it to ‘Mania. She doesn’t have the size, speed or pedigree, and “to be the woman, you gotta beat the Woman.” Ask the man himself! Ric Flair appears. Alexa is lovely, she is champion now, but he promises his daughter will be the champion every day until Wrestlemania and even after, all the way until she hangs up the robe! WOO~!

 

The APA’s card game has even more players.

Natalya and even Titus Worldwide~ have joined, and they’re all beating Slater. He has a straight, The Queen of Harts has a Queen of Hearts Royal Flush. Dana Brooke crunches the numbers, Slater’s lost “a lot of money”.

 

Bray Wyatt VS WOKEN Matt Hardy!

The Eater of Worlds comes to the Manhattan Center, but so has the WOKEN WISDOM! The Great War truly begins on #Raw25, who will take this first battle?

The bell rings, Hardy gives forearms and runs, but Bray catches him. Hardy avoids Sister Abigail and rocks Bray to a corner. Clothesline and hammer fists, Hardy then laughs in Bray’s face. Bray shoves Hardy away but misses his clothesline, Hardy gives him a Russian Leg Sweep. Hardy climbs up, fans fire up and cheer “DELETE! DELETE!” as he hist the ax handle. Hardy continues, kicks but Wyatt shoves him away, they run the ropes and Bray runs Hardy over with a body check!

He laughs while Hardy is dazed and we go to break.

Raw returns to Hardy hitting a jawbreaker on Bray. They both stagger, but Hardy blocks and retaliates with forearms. He “DELETE DELETE DELETE” bumps Bray’s head off buckles, then runs in for a clothesline. Bray denies the bulldog, but Hardy evades in the corner. Bray leans back and Hardy says it’s “WONDERFUL~!” The two stare down, Hardy laughs again. Bray runs out, and into a Side Effect! TWO, but Hardy doesn’t’ stop there. “DELETE! DELETE!” echoes out, Hardy kicks but Bray denies the Twist by putting Hardy against ropes. Bray yanks Hardy into the ropes, then hits Sister Abigail! Bray wins this opening encounter! Will the Face of Fear outlast the WOKEN Wisdom in this Great War?

 

WWE welcomes back legendary women!

The Bella Twins are back, along with Maryse, Kelly Kelly, Lilian Garcia, Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Terri Runnels, Maria Kanellis, and… Trish Stratus!

 

Backstage, Elias encounters CHRIS JERICHO!

The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rollah has a song for The Drifter. May he borrow the guitar? No. That’s fine, he has his own. Jericho doesn’t want to walk with Elias. Why? He’ll give you the gist. Elias is a stupid idiot who just… Just kidding, no he’s not! Elias made the List! “And you’re stupid scarves, too!”

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter still performs for the Barclays Center despite what just happened. And he still asks “Who Wants to Walk with Elias?!” Twenty-five years and WWE finally got it right with him. And yes, WWE stands for “Walk With Elias”. The Royal Rumble this Sunday will be great, but tonight has celebrities and legends. Elias has a song for tonight, so please silence cell phones, hold applause and shut mouths or he won’t sing. The fans like the sound of that! They call him “Stupid Idiot!” after Jericho. In that case, Elias is gonna leave! The fans also like the sound of that! Elias reconsiders, because he spotted Jimmy Fallon!

“Hey Jimmy, let me show you how it’s done.” Elias begins playing and fans clap along. “HBK had his time and now he’s done. Stone Cold saw me coming, and decided to run. Undertaker is a decrepit old man, he should buy a ticket to Elias and sit in the stands.” Fans boo. “Chris Jericho is a big phony, and in the past, he’s stuck. As far as The Rock goes, well I gotta say that, Rocky Still Sucks! Now forgive me if I forget any names, Elias is here and he’s changing The Game. John Cena’s not a legend, not like me at all. John’s more like Brooklyn, because he has no balls. It’s a Royal Rumble, and I’m gonna win–” John Cena appears!

The Leader of the CENAtion is here to mixed reaction as always. Even so, Cena appreciates the noise. “And just so you know, Elias, both myself and Brooklyn have balls, because there they are right there.” Yes, Beach Ball Mania made a return, but only for a moment. Elias tells Cena to “shut your damn mouth! No one wants to hear you. They came to hear me!” Brooklyn continues to have mixed reactions. Cena ruined Elias’ moment? “Do something about it.”

Cena prepares to fight, and waits for Elias’ response. Fans want to see this go down, but Elias says “That’s not how this works, John.” Elias doesn’t take orders from Cena nor does he take orders from “these Brooklyn Scumbags.” Elias turns to leave, then goes after Cean! Cena knew it was coming and rallies with his shoulder tackles. He hits the Spin-out Powerbomb, and then raises the hand to say “You Can’t See Me!” Five Knuckle Shuffle, and the fireman’s carry, but Elias slips down for a low blow uppercut! Elias grabs his guitar, takes aim at Cena, and SMASH!

The guitar explodes off of Cena’s back, Brooklyn actually likes that. He then picks Cena up and hits Drift Away! Elias sends a message to Cena and the WWE Universe, will he make Cena #DriftAway for good?

 

The APA’s poker game is bigger than ever!

The New Day join in, and they serve pancakes. JBL goes all in on this hand! So does everyone else! Slater has a Full House!

How? That has to be cheating! The others protest, JBL shouts everyone to calm down. Simmons agrees, Poker Games aren’t for fighting. If they want to fight, go to the ring! In that case, they will! DeBiase wins this hand, and Simmons has one word to say: “DAMN!”

 

Mark Henry walks the halls of Barclays Center.

The World’s Strongest Man finds The Godfather, and a lovely guest of his, Olivia. Godfather explains that Henry was once known as “Sexual Chocolate”. That was a long time ago. Though, Godfather stayed the same. Her name was Olivia, yes? Yes. Slow down, Henry, this is MRS. Godfather. Things really have changed.

 

Titus Worldwide VS Heath Slater & Rhyno!

Just as The APA suggested, this fight from the poker game spills out into the ring. This match will not only settle their argument, but can also help towards climbing the Raw Tag Team Division ladder!

The bell rings, Titus argues with Rhyno over tagging in Slater. Rhyno chops Titus again and again, Titus puts him in a corner. Titus gives Rhyno a chop, Dana says “That’s what you get for cheating!” Titus gives Rhyno another chop then tags in Apollo Crews. Crews wrenches but Rhyno reverses, then tags in Slater. Slater ax handles the arm then wrenches it more before  yanking away. Crews whips Slater but Slater runs him over. Slater whips Crews, Crews reverses, things speed up and Crews drops Slater with a dropkick. Crews dares Slater to come at him, then kicks him low and into a suplex. He holds Slater up there a good, long time before slamming him down. Titus Worldwide~ are in control as we go to break.

Raw returns and now it’s a brawl! Neither team backs down, the ref throws the match out. The Dudley Boys are here! Bubba Ray & D-Von head to the ring! Titus Worldwide, Slater & Rhyno get out of the way, but Bubba wants to take them all on! The fans chant “E C Dub!” while the stars of WWE figure this out. Fans chant “We Want Tables!” as well. Rhyno forces Slater into the ring! He ends up taking the scoop slam, and then D-Von climbs. “WAZZUP!?”

Flying headbutt! They’re not done here, because Bubba tells D-Von and the fans, “GET THE TABLES!” D-Von has a little help from Rhyno as the table comes out. Bubba sets it up, D-Von grabs Slater, for the 3D!! Will that toughen Slater up?

 

Backstage interview with WWE Champion, AJ Styles.

The Phenomenal One has someone helping him on this interview for the 25th Anniversary of Raw. Charly moves aside for… MEAN GENE OKERLUND! Mean Gene is honored to be here for this. He asks Styles about his 2v1 Handicap Championship match. “Well lemme tell you something, Mean Gene!”

Styles will defend his title against #Kami, who believe they’re better than Styles and that the #YEPMovement is superior to the #YESMovement. #Kami thinks they’ll be the first ever co-champions. Styles won’t allow it, because Styles knows that in the end, they’ll say “And still WWE Champion, The Phenomenal AJ Styles!”

 

Degeneration X reunites in the Manhattan Center!

Shawn Michaels and Triple H head to the ring to give out DX glow sticks and even spit water. The fans chant “DX! DX!” before Michaels speaks. What is HBK’s most favorite moment? He can barely remember even 25 minutes ago. But, he does think back and surely, his favorite has to be the one with the giant sausage- We can’t tell that story here. Then how about that Christmas when- No, can’t tell that one, either. Well y’know what? HBK is really annoyed that he used to be the boss of the team, but now HHH is boss of everything. HBK doesn’t get to do things anymore. Even so, go ahead and watch those days on the WWE Network for just $9.99. HHH knows HBK still has it, but the fans still have it, too. The Manhattan Center started it all! The fans lit the spark that started the fire that became the inferno that is the WWE.

HHH & HBK started something, too, walking out to the ring with Ravishing Rick Rude and the Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna! DX would do whatever they wanted and say whatever they wanted, and has always been at the forefront. They were here from the first Raw to driving a tank to WCW’s front door and starting the Monday Night Wars, to being here tonight for the 25th Anniversary! This is home. HHH vows that DX will be at the forefront of the next 25 years, starting tonight. “Are you ready?!” Because DX didn’t come alone. “Oh you didn’t know?” The New Age Outlaws are her!

The Road Dog, Jessie James! The Badass, Billy Gunn! But there’s still more, because X-Pac is here!

And while this is a DX reunion, they can’t have a Raw celebration without… Razor Ramon, aka Scott Hall! We go to break while the legend makes his way to the ring.

Raw returns and Hall says “Hey yo!” Everybody knows you can’t have a party without The Bad Guy. Hall was watching the show, and he’s sure everyone agrees, it’s “Too Sweet~!” The Balor Club appears!

Finn, Karl & Luke are here and the fans lose their minds. The Balor Club enters the ring and stands across from DX and Razor Ramon while fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop woop!” They all Too Sweet together.

And if you’re not down with that, “Say Yeah!” The Revival comes out?! Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson head to the ring, because they want their match to start already.

The Balor Club VS The Revival!

The Machine Gun and Director of Chaos are the opponents, but Dash & Dawson don’t wait for a bell before blindsiding them in the ring! Dash stomps away on Anderson before backing off with Dawson. The bell rings and Dash pounces, then tags to Dawson so they can mug Anderson in their corner. Dawson kicks Anderson then whips and runs Anderson over with a back elbow. He mocks the Too Sweet before dropping a legdrop on Anderson. Dawson tags Dash in and bumps Anderson off the knee, then they mug him a bit more before Dash puts on a headlock. Dash grinds Anderson down but Anderson powers out and sends him into buckles. Dash tags Dawson to stop Anderson, but Anderson powers out of a headlock to hit a jumping calf kick. The fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop woop!” Anderson and Dawson tag in Gallows and Dash, Gallows rallies on Dash. Big corner splash, but he has to ditch Dash to boot Dawson down. Roundhouse for Dash, then a tag to Anderson, the Balor Club boys hit Magic Killer! The Balor Club wins! Hall and DX celebrate with this new generation, and give another grop Too Sweet. However, Dawson calls out The Bad Guy. Hall flicks his toothpick, X-Pac hits the X-Factor! Road Dogg gives jabs, Billy gives the Famouser! Dash gets up, to get a Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree! And everyone turns to Finn, telling him to go up top. In that case, Finn obliges, climbs up and takes aim for… COUP DE GRACE! “And if you’re not down with that, we’ve got two words for ya: SUCK IT!”

 

Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle, heads to the ring.

And he takes no chances tonight, he brings out several legends and current superstars to bare witness to this closing segment.

Angle thanks Brooklyn before recounting that the Universal Championship will be defended in a Triple Threat. He first introduces the Monster Among Men, Braun Strowman.

Next comes the Big Red Machine, Kane. Current superstars are needed to keep these two apart from each other.

And finally, “Ladies and gentlemen”, Paul Heyman appears to make sure these “fighters” are ready. Of course Heyman introduces the most relevant man in all 25 years of Raw, “the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion, BROCK LESNAR!!”

The Beast heads to the ring while the mere mortal superstars exit it. Strowman barrels through Kane to then storm up the ramp and meet Lesnar halfway! Lesnar clubbers Strowman then goes after Kane, to hit an F5! The Beast roars, but Strowman returns. Strowman resists the German Suplex to then clothesline Lesnar out. Strowman pursues Lesnar to then throw him into the barriers. He clears off the announce table and the announcers clear out! Strowman hoists Lesnar up and over, to slam him through the table! The Monster Among Men looms over the Beast before returning to the ring. Will Strowman be the last titan standing at the Royal Rumble?

 

My Thoughts:

This was only a pretty good Raw for the 25th Anniversary when it should’ve been great. WWE trying two locations immediately sounded sloppy, but I suppose they did about as good as they could have while still keeping to what they needed to do before the Royal Rumble. First, starting with all the McMahons and Stone Cold was classic and logical because of all the great moments where Austin stuck it to Vince and his family for trying to stick it to him first. The Women’s Division being the first match of the night was fun, but there appeared to be pacing problems with the commercials. We go to a commercial only to return right before the finish of the match, that felt a bit poorly planned. However, having Asuka then turn on her team to remind everyone about the Rumble was great, because she is definitely Raw’s favorite to win. The various moments with legends were also great, and Undertaker’s was most cryptic. It could be a confirmation of his retirement or it could be a confirmation of his return but we won’t know until Wrestlemania creeps closer.

Roman VS Miz was solid stuff in the ring and went as expected, even down to The Miz winning with stealthily underhanded tactics. Of course, Roman being without a title now clears him to face the Universal Champion, Brock Lesnar, at Wrestlemania as is the general theory. It was great to see The Peep Show return while also forwarding The Bar VS Rollins-Jordan just a bit. While the knee strike to Jordan was “inadvertent”, this could be setting up Rollins VS Jordan for them to have something down the line that wraps up at Raw’s Elimination Chamber this year. Wyatt VS WOKEN Hardy was rather sudden but having it at the Manhattan Center was still fine in my opinion. If there was more time, I’m sure there could have been a promo from Wyatt or Hardy about bringing their powers to the birthplace of Raw to frame this match better. Wyatt winning was a nice surprise, and I’m sure they’ll have more matches post-Rumble before finally having something fitting of the BROKEN Universe at Wrestlemania. There were also a lot of dark match/house show moments at the Manhattan Center, which surely made the experience for those fans unique and worth a lot of the wait. Especially when they got the main event match segment where all of DX, Scott Hall and even The Balor Club appeared to join together as Faces to shut up the cocky Revival. Then the closing segment was a bit rushed but still exciting as Strowman stands tall once again. This probably won’t change the plans of Lesnar VS Roman for the title, but it honestly should, as everyone loves Strowman and would be so excited to cheer for him.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)

And you thought last week was big!

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Coverage 205 2021

205 Live doubles down on historic matches!

Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
  • Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.

PLAY BY PLAY

205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.

It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.

The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?

 

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!

How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?

The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!

Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!

Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!

Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!

Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?

 

Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!

The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?

The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!

Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.

Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.

Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!

Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!

Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!

Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?


My Thoughts:

A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.

Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)

Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?

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Coverage SmackDown 2021

Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!

SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
  • Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
  • Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
  • Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
  • Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.

PLAY BY PLAY

Roman Reigns heads to the ring!

The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.

But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!

But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.

But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.

Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?

Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.

 

Sami Zayn heads to the ring!

He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?

SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!

Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!

The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?

As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.

Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!

SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.

Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!

Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!

Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall

Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?

 

Billie finds the Squad backstage.

She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?

 

Daniel Bryan is here!

And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!

“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!

Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!

The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?

Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!

SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!

Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”

Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!

Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall

Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?

 

Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!

It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?

SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!

Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!

Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!

Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission

Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?

 

Roman Reigns sits in his private room.

Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!

Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!

Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.

Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!

Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!

Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)

And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?

 

Kevin Owens speaks.

“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.

And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.

But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.

 

The Street Profits have a basket.

Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!

Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?

 

Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!

The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?

SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!

But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?

Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!

Winner: Bianca Belair

Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.

 

Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.

Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?

 

Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!

SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.

Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!

Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall

The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?

 

Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!

Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?

Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?

Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!

Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!

Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!

Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?


My Thoughts:

A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.

But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.

The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.

Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.

And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.

My Score: 8.5/10


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