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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (1/30/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE United States Championship #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way: Kofi Kingston w/ The New Day VS Zack Ryder VS Rusev w/ Aiden English VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh; Rusev wins and will challenge Bobby Roode for the US Championship next week.
  • The Bludgeon Brothers VS It Doesn’t Matter; Bludgeon Brothers win.
  • Tye Dillinger VS Baron Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Breezango VS Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin; Gable & Benjamin win.
  • AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn; Styles & Nakamura win.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown welcomes the Men’s Royal Rumble Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura!

The King of Strong Style outlasted even the likes of Finn Balor, John Cena and Roman Reigns to earn his main event spot at Wrestlemania 34! Not only that, but he didn’t wait long to name who he wants to face, either. He wants the WWE Champion, AJ Styles! The fans of Philly welcome him with a standing ovation and chanting his name. Nakamura speaks, “At Royal Rumble, Sami Zayn: Knee to the face. John Cena: Knee to the face! Roman Reigns: Knee to face!” And at Wrestlemania, it will be him VS AJ Styles, and a “KNEE, FACE, new WWE Champion!” However, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn come out to respond.

“Give it up for your 2018 Royal Rumble winner, Shinsuke Nakamura!” Kevin says he can point at the sign and talk about beating Styles all he wants, but #Kami believes they were screwed over. Yep. Sami & Kevin should be co-champions but are instead losers because of a “controversial” call. They claim Shane McMahon’s vendetta still holds them down. The referee has one job: protect the integrity of the match at all costs. Yep. And clearly Kevin didn’t tag in. Kevin’s strong passion coupled with incompetence of the referee has put us in this situation. “Styles pinned the wrong man!” Therefore, #Kami should be given a second chance. That means it won’t be Styles VS Nakamura, it’ll be #Kami VS Nakamura. YEP, YEP, YEP! Nakamura says Styles is a winner, and #Kami are losers.

Philly says “YEP!” to that. However, #Kami decides to intimidate Nakamura, only for AJ Styles to appear in person!

Styles speaks now, saying #Kami can complain all they want, but they’re still getting the dream match at ‘Mania, and that’s Styles VS Nakamura. But as for tonight in Philly, in the “House that AJ Styles Built”, the Dream Match shall become a Dream Team! Styles & Nakamura VS Sami & Kevin tonight!

However, #Kami seems to say NOPE to that, as they take their leave. Though, on second thought, if Styles, Nakamura and Philly want it that badly, still NOPE! In that case, Styles and Nakamura knock #Kami down! Kevin & Sami may not feel like in a fighting mood, but then how are they to get the title from Styles?

 

Kevin & Sami visit SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan.

They need to talk. Well he wanted to talk to them too. He reminds them that Styles doesn’t have match-making power, but Bryan does. The dream team match will happen.

This is almost as bad as the Rumble’s “single biggest blown call ever”! Bryan says the footage could not overturn the ruling, the referee made a mistake and they have to live with it. Mistake? No, a mistake is when you set your alarm for 7PM instead of AM! This was for a title! C’mon, Daniel! He has to fix this, they can’t be pushed to the back of the line, and Bryan knows it! Bryan agrees, but their opportunity at the title will happen next week. See? Voice of Reason right here! Yes, next week, major main event, and the winner of that match moves on to Fastlane! It’ll be Kevin Owens VS Sami Zayn 1v1! That’s great, right? Bryan can’t wait for that! But #Kami can’t believe they’ll have to fight each other now. Will their friendship survive?

 

WWE United States Championship #1 Contender Fatal 4 Way: Kofi Kingston VS Zack Ryder VS Rusev VS Jinder Mahal!

The GLORIOUS One has a lot of eyes on him now that he’s champion, and he joins commentary to watch this personally. Will the high-flyer of the New Day, the Long Island Iced Z, the Bulgarian Brute or the Modern Day Maharaja rise up to challenge him along this Road to Wrestlemania?

The bell rings and while fans chant “Rusev Day!”, Rusev comes under attack from Ryder. Meanwhile, Mahal goes after Kofi and we have a pair of brawls. Ryder and Rusev spill out to the outside while Mahal keeps Kofi inside. Mahal whips, Kofi evades and sunset flips, but Mahal sits down. TWO, and Kofi rolls Mahal, TWO. Kofi keeps moving but runs into Mahal’s stiff knee! Ryder returns in the ring and slips out of Mahal’s scoop to dump Mahal out. Rusev returns but Ryder is ready, except for running into Rusev’s body attack. Big E serves pancakes aggressively at Corey Graves while Rusev stomps out Ryder.

Mahal keeps on Kofi on the outside then puts him inside, also stomping away. Roode is honored to have so many contenders and vows to be a fighting champion. Rusev and Mahal keep on Kofi and Ryder, but Kofi fights back as the fans rally. Mahal and Rusev coordinate and go to whip Kofi and Ryder at each other, but Ryder reverses and Kofi knocks Rusev down with a dropkick! Mahal runs but misses, Ryder knocks him with a lariat. Kofi goes after Ryder now, but his suplex is countered with a neckbreaker, Mahal breaks the pin. Mahal drags Ryder up for crossface punches and stiff elbows. He whips Ryder but Ryder counters with a facebuster, then clotheslines Mahal out of the ring. Ryder builds speed and hits Mahal with a wrecking ball dropkick. Kofi sees a target, and FLIES! Big E throws more pancakes! Rusev gets in the ring, he builds speed, but Sunil trips him up! Aiden English comes over and threatens him, then shoves him, and causes Big E to spill the pancake platter!

Sunil done done it now! The New Day argues with English and Singh, but the referee ejects all four of them! The arguing just gets worse while we go picture in picture.

With the four legal men the only ones left, Rusev fires up with the “RUSEV DAY!” chants. He slips out of the ring to throw Ryder into barriers. Rusev puts Ryder into the ring but Mahal and Kofi have also returned. Kofi breaks Rusev’s cover, then goes back to Mahal. Mahal and Rusev keep control, but Kofi reverses a buckle bump to give a bump. Ryder fights back on Rusev and gives him corner punches while Kofi stomps on Mahal. Kofi walks off tot he side, to then run in and rock Mahal with a dropkick! Ryder covers Rusev, ONE, Kofi goes after Mahal’s leg. Rusev kicks Ryder right in the head! Ryder rolls out of the ring while Mahal turns things around on Kofi. Mahal chokes Kofi at the ropes, then Rusev comes over to help out. Rusev drags Kofi up while Mahal goes after Ryder. Ryder reverses Mahal and bumps him off the apron, Rusev covers, TWO. Mahal grinds a knee into Ryder, Rusev rams shoulders into Kofi. Mahal throws Ryder out then rejoins Rusev to bully Kofi. They double suplex Kofi, then Mahal drops a knee. Rusev adds an elbow drop, then they both drag Kofi up to throw him back out. Mahal and Rusev stick together as they go out of the ring, embracing the heat. Mahal grinds his knee into Kofi  then rocks him with a right and we go back to single picture.

Rusev keeps on Ryder while Mahal whips Kofi at steel steps, but Kofi leaps up and over them! Kofi returns but Mahal evades, to then send Kofi into those steel steps. Then Mahal turns on Rusev with a right hand and a bump off a post. He puts Ryder in the ring and covers, TWO. Roode touts the accomplishments of Mahal while Mahal lays into Ryder with springboard knee drops. Rusev returns and Mahal is right upon him, but the fans cheer Rusev on. Rusev fights back, brawling with Mahal. Haymaker after haymaker, then a pair of big roundhouses. Rusev fires up, and runs corner to corner to ram a shoulder into Mahal!

Mahal escapes the ring, so Rusev goes after Ryder. Ryder knees Rusev away, then hits a missile dropkick. He goes corner to corner, forearm smash and more forearms, “WOO WOO WOO!” Broski Boot! But Mahal wipes Ryder out with a boot of his own, TWO! Ryder rolls away while Mahal covers Rusev, TWO. Mahal grows frustrated but Kofi flies in to knock him down! The fans fire up for Kofi as he hits the Boom Drop. Kofi gets the fans going again, but Ryder returns, Kofi hits SOS! Mahal breaks the cover, then lariats Kofi inside-out. Rusev gets up and throws Mahal out, before seeing he has his pick between Ryder and Kofi. He chooses both for a Stack-olade! However, Mahal returns to roll Rusev up, TWO! Mahal hits the big knee strike on Rusev, then calls for his finish. He drags Rusev up, but Rusev resists and throws him off. Ryder comes in, pop-up for the Rough Ryder on Mahal! Rusev rocks Ryder with another roundhouse, then he blocks Kofi’s SOS into the Accolade!

Kofi endures, but taps! Rusev wins! The Bulgarian Brute shall challenge Roode for the US Championship next week on SmackDown! And he gets out of the ring to stare right at the champion. The GLORIOUS One is ready, but will he still be CRUSHED on Rusev Day?

 

The Usos speak.

“Since Day One, the Usos have had the SmackDown Live Tag Division #OnLock.” Every other tag team in the WWE better pay attention to them. They’re going to put everyone on notice, “live and in color”, after the break.

 

The Fashion Police are in Fashion HQ.

They finish power-ranking their favorite looks before checking in with the Ascension and the #AskBreezango Twitter questions. The questions keep pouring in! First up, “What kind of conditioner do you use for your hair?” “What is your favorite thing about Viktor?” But before they can cover any more questions, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin enter. What even is this? The Fashion Files still exists? These “clowns” are embarrassing the SmackDown Tag Team Division.

As embarrassing as losing to the Usos twice in a row? Gable & Benjamin have a question: Do they really think they can beat the team of Benjamin & Gable? The answer: No. Then they throw the table over! The Ascension keep the Fashion Police calm, they’ll settle this in the ring.

 

The Usos come to the ring.

The Usos won against Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin in a Best 2 out of 3 Falls tag team match for the SmackDown Tag Team titles, keeping the Uso Penitentiary open for business. Philly is the City of Brotherly Love, so show some love to the championship brothers! They got silly up in Philly, they beat Gable ‘n’ Benjamin 2-0, “back to back!” But that’s nothing new, the Usos have always dominated SmackDown. “Y’all don’t remember, huh?” They go on a trip of memory lane! American Alpha: LOCKED DOWN! American Alpha 2: LOCKED DOWN! Hype Bros: LOCKED DOWN! Breezango: LOCKED DOWN! NEW DAY~: LOCKED DOWN! And even The Bar, from Raw, but at Survivor Series: LOCKED DOWN! They lock ’em down and this Day One Ish isn’t just merch, it’s a lifestyle! It’s real, true, being 100 and being UCE! Day One is the struggle, and everyone knows about that. Bills, work, grades, staying otu of trouble, but remember this: all those struggles will only make you stronger. That’s why the Usos go to war side-by-side. That’s what makes them different, because they share struggles, Uce. They get stronger together, so it won’t matter where you’re from, what Club you’re in, what Bar you are, what Day you are, it doesn’t even matter if you’re other brothers! The Usos may not be the best tag team, but they’re the best in WWE! “Run up ‘n’ get done up!”

Philly is fired up alongside The Usos, but before the Usos can leave, out come a certain pair of brothers.

Yes, Harper & Rowan have returned, and these Bludgeon Brothers are ready to show why everyone should be worried about them.

 

The Bludgeon Brothers VS ???

Like any other Bludgeon Brothers match, they come out hard at the bell as Harper runs over ? then puts him in a corner to chop stiffly. He tags in Rowan, Rowan whips Harper right in for a big back elbow, then Harper feeds Rowan’s tackle. They tag back, and Rowan hauls up the carcass and walks over to the opposing corner. Harper keeps “Mr. Amazing” from running, Rowan makes ? tag him in, only to use ? as a weapon! Harper runs “Mr. Amazing” over with a boot! Rowan then throws his partner, and the two small men end up in a corner. Harper tags Rowan back and and whips him in for a big corner splash sandwich. Then, with the full-nelson lift, Rowan assists Harper in the sit-out powerbomb! And for the legal “Mr. Amazing”, Bludgeon Bomb! The Bludgeon Brothers win! Will these brothers in destruction soon challenge the Usos for SmackDown tag team gold?

 

Daniel Bryan speaks.

“On SmackDown Live, we’re always exploring new and different ways to make the show more interesting for our fans and more engaging for our superstars.” That’s why Bryan himself is proud to announce the first ever, official SmackDown Top Ten List! The stars of SmackDown will vote on who they think are the most deserving. It is all based on locker room leadership, talent and skill. There are ground rules, however. Shane and Bryan won’t have a vote, it is all for the superstars. The other rule is that you can’t vote for yourself! Bryan is so excited and knows this will go a long way to helping make SmackDown better!

 

Shane McMahon speaks on the Royal Rumble.

Everything was so exciting, but now Tye Dillinger walks in. On any other day the Top Ten List would be priority, but they both now what this talk is about. The Perfect Ten was going to be entry 10, but Sami Zayn took taht form him. Baron Corbin comes in to complain about the Top Ten List and about #Kami. Shane agrees on the latter, and Corbin wonders who is really in charge. Is Shane a McMahon or what? Shane is a McMahon. Tye speaks up, and riles Corbin up but Shane calms them down. Tempers are running wild but things are settled in the ring. The Lone Wolf and the Perfect Ten will face off, which one of them will revitalize themselves on the way to Wrestlemania?

 

Charlotte Flair heads to the ring!

The Queen of Flair and SmackDown Women’s Champion will speak after the break.

SmackDown returns and we have an in-ring interview conducted by Renee Young. What was it like to watch the inaugural Women’s Rumble in person? It was incredible. Charlotte was so proud of the women in that match, but was also itching to compete. It was the first time that she didn’t want to be champion, because she’d rather test her mettle against the legends. Charlotte wanted to see if she could be like a certain Nature Boy she knew. Then there was a surreal moment where she stood in the ring with the Raw Women’s Champion and Asuka, the winner of the Rumble. And of course, there was “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey. All Charlotte knows is that she will still go to Wrestlemania as SmackDown Women’s Champion, but who will be her opponent? The Riott Squad comes out!

Ruby speaks, saying Charlotte needs to forget about Asuka and Ronda. Does Charlotte hear herself putting herself over? Her ego is big as her father’s. The fans let out a “WOO~” in agreement. Of course Charlotte thinks she would’ve won the Rumble and handpick her opponent. Ruby has met Charlottes all over the world. So talented, yet so entitled and unoriginal. There is only one Riott, from the way she talks to the way she acts to the way she looks. But Charlotte? She’s a cheap imitation of Ric. Ruby is out here to say that Charlotte’s time is over, because if the Squad had their way, she wouldn’t even make it to ‘Mania. Charlotte asks if Ruby’s done talking, then lets out a “WOO~” right in her face. Ruby goes to swing, Charlotte fights her and the Squad off! She knocks Ruby out, kicks Liv out and then throws Sarah out! The champion wants to fight, but the Squad has her surrounded! They club away on the Queen, and Philly boos and jeers as they stomp her out. Sarah drops a cartwheel knee, and then Ruby kicks her while she’s down. Liv gives the springboard double stomps in the corner, then she and Sarah bring Charlotte over for Ruby. They stand her up, Ruby gives her the Riott Kick! Philly boos and jeers but The Squad stands tall. Will they make good on their words and take that title from Charlotte before Wrestlemania?

Forget the Squad, here comes Ms. Money in the Bank!! Carmella rushes the ring with her briefcase, then makes sure Charlotte is good and done. Then she gives the case over to the referee! She sees Charlotte get up and panics! Carmella goes to dropkick Charlotte, but Charlotte evades and the referee takes the hit!

He tumbles down, Carmella freaks out, but Charlotte gets to her feet. Carmella shrieks for the referee to get up and activate the contract, but too late. She grabs her case and runs now that Charlotte is capable to fight back. Maybe not today, but when will Carmella finally make good on her MITB contract?

 

Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles talk backstage.

Nakamura knows what they have to do, right? Yes, they’re meeting at Wrestlemania. No, tonight they face #Kami! Yes, they meet at ‘Mania. Is he messing with Styles? Of course he’s messing with you. They’ll be fine, just listen to Nakamura out there. Styles listen to Nakamura? Will this Dream Team really work out?

 

Backstage interview with Carmella.

A bit of bad luck kept her from cashing in. Bad Luck? Carmella says that went as planned. She simply wanted to remind everyone that she has the MITB contract, and that makes Carmella the most dangerous woman on SmackDown. Plus, she broke a nail. Well, best of luck next time.

 

Tye Dillinger VS Baron Corbin!

The Perfect Ten and Lone Wolf have had problems with each other for a long time, and now they must settle a whole new grudge. Corbin rusehes in, Tye SUPERKIKCS him back then unloads left hands on the outside before throwing him into a barrier! The fans fire up for Tye as he hits Corbin with a flying forearm!

Tye keeps on Corbin then puts him in the ring, running chop in a corner before Perfect Ten corner punches! Corbin pushes Tye back, gets him with a knee, then pounds him with forearms on the mat. The fans boo, Corbin tells them to “Shut up!” Corbin whips Tye corner to corner, then runs in for a big corner clothesline. He drags Tye up, Tye fights back with body shots and forearms. Tye runs, kicks Corbin back, but Corbin rocks Tye with a right hand. The fans troll Corbin with “You Need Hair Plugs!” but Corbin ignores them to drag Tye up again. He throws Tye right out over the top rope and embraces the heat while we go picture in picture.

Tye writhes while Corbin grins, then Corbin goes out to fetch him. He brings Tye around the corner to then throw him into more barriers. Corbin walks around while Tye writhes again, then Corbin drags Tye up fore more stiff shots. He lifts Tye and drops him on the announce table face first! The referee keeps counting, things return into the ring. Corbin stalks Tye to ropes and rocks him with more right forearms, but then Tye fights back with chops! Corbin drives a knee in then whips Tye to a corner, but Tye evades, only for Corbin to slide out then in and run him over with a lariat! Cover, TWO, and Corbin grows annoyed. He keeps on Tye with a half-nelson chinbar while we go back to single picture.

Tye endures while the fans rally. Corbin keeps the grip on tight but Tye starts firing up. Tye gets up to his feet and fights back with body shots. Corbin drives in another knee then whips Tye, Tye goes up and over while Corbin slides out again. He sees Corbin coming, evades again, and then sends him into a post! Tye sees this is his chance, and fires himself up again. Corbin staggers over and Tye rocks him with southpaw haymakers and right hand chops. Tye rallies with forearms, and evades a pop-up knee to give a boot of his own. Tye knees and lariats Corbin down, then brings him back up for headbutts and chops. Knee pad comes down, Tye lifts Corbin up, but Corbin slips out to shove and clobber Tye down. The fans boo and jeer while Corbin gives Tye the Choke Slam Backbreaker! But Corbin isn’t done there, he brings Tye up again for End of Days! Corbin wins! The Lone Wolf won’t let opportunities slip through his fingers again, will he finally sink his teeth into a WWE Championship match?

 

Rusev speaks.

And Aiden English magically appears! The spotlight is on them, as next week is going to bring victory on Rusev Day~~~ “Bob Roode” loses his title while Rusev “Machka”!

However, Roode has a response.

The US Champion has marked his calendar for next week’s “Rusev Day”. But when you’re Bobby Roode, the schedule fills up very quickly.

Which man will have his day with SmackDown sees this GLORIOUS United States Championship match?

 

Kevin & Sami prepare backstage.

The good news: at least one of these best friends gets a title opportunity. Yep. But a shame it’s against each other. Yep. Though, an opportunity is all either has ever needed, right? Yep. Unless, Sami fails. Much like how Kevin was the one pinned in their match. And like how Sami was eliminated in the Rumble. Well, the important thing is, Sami won’t fail tonight in the tag match because he has Kevin. Right, Sami won’t fail tonight. Is tension already mounting between these reunited friends?

 

Breezango VS Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin!

The bell rings and we have Fandango starting against the Gold Standard. They circle, but Benjmain gives a cheap shot to Prince Pretty! Fandango rocks Benjamin with right hands and chops in return, but Benjamin reverses the whip. Fandango evades, but then runs into a spinebuster!

Benjamin drags Fandango up for a seated hammerlock. The Ascension watch backstage and are worried for their “best friends.” Gable tags in and gets the hand-off to then flip Fandnago with the kitchen sink knee, ONE. Gable goes after the arm, but Fandango gets to ropes. Fandango evades Gable and hits a wheelbarrow bulldog! Cover, TWO, and Fandango keeps on Gable with chops. He whips Gable but Gable slips out to trip up Breeze! Gable then shoulders his way in and slingshots, but into a backbreaker! TWO, and Gable backs up to hit the rolling kick! Cover, TWO, and Gable grows frustrated. He drags Fandnago up into the keylock, but fans rally for the Lord of the Dance. Gable whips, Fandango rolls him, TWO! Tag to Breeze! Breeze rallies on Gable and Benjamin, then gives Gable a forearm smash. Gable reverses the whip and Benjamin tags in. Fandango runs in but Gable tackles him out of the ring. Breeze hits Benjamin with a mule kick, then tries a spinning headscissors, but ends up in the Doomsday!

Benjamin & Gable win! Can “American Alpha 2” make a comeback and take on the Usos again?

 

AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn!

A dream team takes on a duo of best friends, but they all want to hold the WWE Championship. Which team will keep it together long enough to win tonight before facing their partner on the Road to Wrestlemania?

The bell rings and Kevin starts against Styles. Keivn gets a waistlock but Styles gets the standing switch. Styles tries to lift Kevin, but Kevin trips him up first, only for STyles to headscissors Kevin to his corner. Sami tags in, and so does Nakamura.

The Rockstar and Underdog tie up, Sami gets the armlock. He puts on a wristlock and then armbar but Nakamura rolls and cartwheels to reverse it. Sami gets to ropes for the break, so Nakamura rests on Sami’s abs. Kevin gets annoyed for both of them, but then even more when Nakamura says “C’MON!” Sami rushes in and takes the knee, then Nakamura drops a knee. He puts Sami in a corner for Good Vibrations! Nakamura drags Sami over and Styles tags in. Styles throws hands but Sami kicks back and puts on a headlock. The fans cheer for Styles while Sami grinds him down. Styles powers out, things speed up, Styles rocks Sami with a dropkick! He won’t let Sami get away, he brings Sami back and Nakamura tags in. Nakamura is pushed into #Kami’s corner and Kevin stomps away. Sami gets a cheap shot while Kevin says “And that’s why this is MY show!” Kevin keeps on Nakamura with stomps and right hands, then crossface punches and kicks. He drags Nakamura up and puts him in a corner, then tags Sami back in. Sami gives Nakamura punch after punch, and even a chop. He tags Kevin back in, the best friends mug Nakamura. Kevin brings Nakamura up and chops him, then whips him to ropes. Nakamura reverses, Kevin kicks back, but Nakamura gives him the strike fest.

Nakamura drives knees into Kevin’s ribs, but then Sami comes in. Sami gets thrown out but that allows Kevin to pounce on Nakamura. Kevin sees where Sami ended up and gets mad. “Are you my partner or not?” Kevin lariats Nakamura down then orders Sami to get back to his corner. Cover, TWO, and Sami looks to be just as annoyed with Kevin as Kevin is with him. Nakamura fights back and Kevin escapes the ring. The friends argue, the Philly fans boo and jeer them, and the referee starts a ring count. Sami starts to leave?! “See how well you do without your guardian angel!” Is this becoming a handicap match?!

SmackDown returns and Kevin has Styles in a chinlock. Sami stays on the stage and watches while Styles gets to his feet. Styles fights back but Kevin clubs him before going for a back suplex. Styles gets out and gives Kevin the Phenomenal Blitz and sliding forearm! Kevin crawls to a corner and Styles comes in for a big clothesline, then tries the fireman’s carry. Kevin slips out, but Styles still hits the wheelbarrow facebuster!

Cover, but Sami returns to break it up! Seems Sami wasn’t going to give up on this match after all. He gets to the corner and Kevin tags him ni. Sami fires off crossface punches on Styles while the fans sing “Ole~ ole~!” Sami whips and body drops Styles, then covers, TWO. Kevin wants back in already but Sami says he has this. “Tag me dammit!” Sami lets go of Styles, and tags Kevin like he wanted. Kevin stomps on Styles, then hits the back senton, TWO. Now Sami wants a tag, and Kevin gives it to him, with a bit of attitude… Kevin lets Sami handle Styles, but then Sami tags him back.

The friendship is tearing, but while they argue, Styles bumps Kevin into Sami, rolls up, TWO! Kevin clobbers Styles with a lariat! Sami gets mad at Kevin for that, and now he truly leaves this match. The fans boo while Kevin shouts at Sami, but Styles comes back! He forearms Kevin away, but Kevin blocks the springboard with a fireman’s carry and gutbuster! Then a banzai splash! TWO!? Kevin takes his frustration out on Nakamura, then whips Styles, Pop-Up avoided for a PELE! Styles tags in Nakamura, and Nakamura runs to hit Kevin with the dynamic dropkick. Nakamura unleashes kicks, then hits a corner knee. He hoists Kevin up, Top Shelf knee! Now Nakamura fires up and fans know what’s next. So does Kevin, he goes to run away, but Styles puts him back in the ring. Nakamura knocks him down, then finishes with a KINSHASA! The Dream Team wins!

Backstage interview with Sami Zayn.

Is this the end of their friendship already? NOPE! This isn’t about friendship, this is about opportunities. Kevin has had his time, now it’s Sami’s! Sami won’t just be Kevin’s Best Friend, he’ll be the #1 contender and the future WWE Champion! Will it really just be business after next week’s SmackDown?

 

My Thoughts:

Like Raw last night, this post-Rumble SmackDown was pretty darn good. SmackDown works towards their final stop before Wrestlemania, aka Fastlane. The opening fatal 4 way was great and it really boosts the profile of the US Championship. Everyone was great in their character work, especially Big E on the outside with his constant pancake antics. Rusev getting the win is great because fans really do love the Rusev Day gimmick, and because there seems to be a New Day VS Mahal & Singh(s) program building. Rusev and Roode both do great to speak on their match for next week with those smartphone video promos, their match is going to be great but I don’t think Roode would lose so soon after winning the title. Tye VS Corbin on the heels of this new Top Ten List concept is an interesting bit. Corbin wins to keep himself strong in spite of his “falling short” trend, but I would love to see his Heel reaction to the other superstars not voting him into the Top Ten. The SmackDown Tag Team Division keeps going strong as Gable & Benjamin get back on winning ways by making the Fashion Police job out again. Then the Usos tear it up with a great promo, as always, to then be followed up by Harper & Rowan again mauling jobbers they don’t even give time to be introduced. There may be a #1 contenders match before Fastlane, but finally seeing Usos VS Harper & Rowan seems the more logical choice and a very entertaining one given how smash-mouth both teams have shown they can be.

The Women’s Division gives us an interesting bit with The Riott Squad taking the fight to Charlotte and unwittingly setting her up for Carmella’s cash-in attempt. I had mixed reactions about Carmella still being denied her chance, but it happened in a very unique way so I’ll let it slide. Carmella did well to play it off, too, and could still cash-in at Fastlane, or copy Rollins and cash-in mid-match at ‘Mania. Kevin & Sami logically continue where they left off last night with protesting a “controversial” ending, but in similar fashion don’t want to fight it out unless they have to. Then they start getting on each other’s nerves, which is a bit of a shame since they just became friends in kayfabe again rather recently. Of course, the WWE Championship is a major prize, they’d both want to hold it all by themselves. The tension and bickering was good character work, though, and in reality helps give Sami reason not to overdo it since he had a Mixed Match Challenge match to worry about right after this. The arguing of course costs them the match, which keeps Styles and Nakamura strong while they each head for ‘Mania. Kevin VS Sami could go either way, but I really hope the two don’t kayfabe break up over this. Unless it’s to then long-term swerve where the loser appears to help the winner at Fastlane.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, First Round Marathon!

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Before the Network specials June 25th and 26th, the WWE brings us the ENTIRE first round in one single stream! Sixteen great talents from both the United Kingdom and around the world compete to move on in just the second ever UK Championship Tournament! Will your bracket be busted right out of the starting gate?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official social media sources

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Drew Gulak VS Jack Gallagher; Gallagher wins and advances to the second round.
  • Ligero VS Travis Banks; Banks wins and advances to the second round.
  • Dave Mastiff VS Kenny Williams; Mastiff wins and advances to the second round.
  • Flash Morgan Webster VS James Drake; Webster wins and advances to the second round.
  • Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan; Gibson wins and advances to the second round.
  • Ashton Smith VS Joseph Conners; Ashton wins and advances to the second round.
  • Tyson T-Bone VS Jordan Devlin; Devlin wins and advances to the second round.
  • Tucker VS Joe Coffey; Coffey wins and advances to the second round.

PLAY BY PLAY

The second WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament begins!

Who do you have winning your WWE UKCT 2018 Bracket?

Many faces return from the inaugural tournament, while many others are participating for the first time. The winner of this tournament will be awarded a championship match against Pete Dunne, who is only the second-ever yet longest reigning champion in the title’s short history. Will a returning star or a new one be the next to challenge The British Bruiserweight?

 

Drew Gulak VS Jack Gallagher!

This second edition of the WWE UKCT starts with two great grappling gentlemen from both sides of the pond. The Philly Stretcher and The Extraordinary Gentleman have become friends via WWE’s 205 Live, but they will put friendship aside if it means a chance at Pete Dunne’s title.

The bell rings and the two gentlemen shake hands. Fans applaud for that as the two circle and tie up. Gulak gets a facelock and puts Gallagher against ropes, but honors the break. They tie up again, and Gulak gets another facelock, but it’s Gallagher who puts Gulak against ropes. Gallagher honors the break, and then they circle. They tie up again, and go around the ring. Gulak gets the headlock, and he grinds Gallagher down to a knee. He brings Gallagher around and around to cover, ONE and Gallagher gets a headscissor counter. Gallagher wrenches but Gulak works his way up. Gulak doesn’t pop out, he rolls Gallagher over and bridges. Fans applaud Gulak’s technical prowess as he gets the leg knot and tries for the full Queen Angelito stretch.

Gulak twists Gallagher, but Gallagher slips out to trip Gulak. Gallagher goes after the legs now, and twists with a toehold. Gulak spins to ease the pressure but Gallagher holds on. Gallagher wrenches more, and makes it a heel hook. Gulak endures, spins, and gets Gallagher’s leg. Gulak now has a standing leg lock, but his own foot pains him too much. He lets Gallagher go, but gets to a corner for safety. Gallagher respects Gulak and waits for him to come out. The two tie up again and Gallagher gets that leg. Gulak counters with a facelock and the two hop around. Gallagher trips Gulak again, but both men get a leg lock on the other. Fans love this technical showdown as the two fight for control.

Gallagher shoves Gulak back and heel hooks, but Gulak goes after one of his own. Gallagher wrenches, so Gulak stands and grabs Gallagher. Gulak drags Gallagher into an attempted triangle but Gallagher stands up to keep the leg lock. Gallagher brings Gulak around for a spinning toehold, then makes it a standing deathlock. Gulak endures the wrenching, but Gallagher shifts and gets the knot! Gulak knows what that means, and Gallagher puts in a bridging Indian Deathlock! But Gulak reaches over, and grabs Gallagher in a sleeper! Gulak gets free, and wants his GuLOCK! Gallagher scrambles and gets a ropebreak. Gulak lets go and Gallagher backs off.

The two circle again, then tie up. Gulak spins gets the wristlock takedown. He steps through for a hammerlock, then grabs Gallagher’s legs for the cloverleaf! Gulak bends Gallagher back, but Gallagher refuses to quit. Gallagher gets out and brings Gulak in. Gulak turns but Gallagher uses the momentum to keep going, and they end up in a corner. The ref counts the ropebreak but Gallagher grinds his forehead into Gulak’s. Gallagher backs off at 4, but then kicks the bad leg. Gulak forearms back, so Gallagher does, too. Gallagher adds a stiff European Uppercut, and it seems the friendship really is out of the window now.

Gallagher kicks that bad leg, but Gulak chops back stiff. Gulak headbutts Gallagher’s stomach, then chops again. Gallagher kicks the leg again, then forearms away. Gallagher returns the chops, as well, then whips Gulak. Gulak reverses but things speed up. Gulak rolls, grabs a leg, victory roll, TWO! They both stand, Gallagher EuroUppers but Gulak chops and chops. Gulak also uses palm strikes, but he spins around into the Extraorindary Headbutt!

Cover, Gallagher wins!

Winner: Jack Gallagher, by pinfall; advances to the second round

The Extraordinary Gentleman takes out the Yankee! Now he awaits the winner of Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan in the quarterfinals.

 

Ligero VS Travis Banks!

The Prestigious Mexican Sensation and the Kiwi Buzzsaw collide in an international crossover. Will this United Kingdom Division Tournament be taken over by a foreign entity?

The bell rings, and the two men circle. They tie up, Travis gets the headlock. Travis shifts to a wristlock, but Ligero reverses to his own, and a headlock. Travis tries but can’t power out. He suplexes but Ligero lands on his feet. Things speed up, and Travis cartwheels over Ligero. They keep going, and Travis throws Ligero to a corner. Ligero runs back out, but Travis sweeps the legs! Travis adds a stiff mule kick! Cover, TWO! Travis keeps his cool, and brings Ligero up for chops. Fans duel, Ligero shoves and waistlocks but then runs to headscissor Travis down. Travis gets to a corner and Ligero whips but Travis reverses. Ligero goes up and under, then goes around and over, then back under, to roll Travis for a mule kick of his own. Ligero brings Travis up for a big suplex, then covers, TWO.

Travis sits up while fans rally. Ligero gives Travis a forearm, but Travis kicks away. Ligero catches a kick, sweeps the leg, and standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Fans rally again as Ligero brings Travis up. Ligero runs, but his springboard almost fails with the slippery ropes. He does jump, but Travis easily deflects him. Travis hits the shotgun knee! Ligero gets to ropes while fans duel. Travis runs in for the back elbow, then another, then runs corner to corner, but Ligero follows. Travis sweeps the leg again and Ligero hits buckles. Ligero sits down, Travis goes corner to corner, cannonball! Travis drags Ligero out, cover, TWO!

Fans build to a rally as Travis brings Ligero up and around. Travis suplexes, but Ligero slips out. Ligero waistlocks, Travis standing switches, but Ligero throws him out. Ligero runs and FLIES! He takes Travis out with the tope conjilo, then brings him back in. Ligero runs and springboards, but Travis back drops. Ligero sunset flips through but Travis sits on the cover! TWO and Ligero covers, TWO. Travis covers again, ONE and back to Ligero! ONE, ONE, ONE, ONE, etc! It keeps going, but Ligero gets it to stop, TWO! Fans applaud as both men stand. Ligero uppercuts, then runs, but into a big lariat! Travis runs, goes to a corner to springboard, Slice of Heaven enziguri! Cover, TWO! Travis gets mad, and suplexes, Kiwi Crusher!

Cover, Travis wins!

Winner: Travis Banks, by pinfall; advances to the second round

The New Zealand Terminator and current Progress World Champion takes care of a former Progress World Champion. Can Travis make it all the way to the end to challenge the WWE United Kingdom Champion?

 

Dave Mastiff VS Kenny Williams!

Big Bad Dave and The Bollocks make for the first pure match-up of the marathon. Both men have held championships in the UK before, but will either man make it to challenge THE UK Champion?

The bell rings, and Mastiff watches Williams as he goes around the ring. They tie up, and Mastiff just tosses Williams backwards! Williams gets to a corner, but comes back to tie up again. Mastiff powers Williams to a corner, and Williams goes up the ropes to keep from getting squashed. Mastiff backs off, but pats Williams on the head. Williams dares him to come back, and then boots Mastiff. Williams leaps over, then rolls under, to leap up again! He tries to sunset but Mastiff is too massive. Mastiff sits down, but misses! Williams runs and shining wizard! Cover, ONE and with authority.

Williams keeps going with forearms on Mastiff. Mastiff throws Williams again, but misses in the corner. Williams keeps moving, but that crossbody does nothing! Mastiff’s back senton squashes Williams! Cover, TWO! Williams gasps for air, but Mastiff is on him with elbows to the jaw and shoulder. Cover, TWO, and Mastiff grows frustrated. Mastiff stalks Williams to a corner, then brings him out to snapmare into a seated abdominal stretch. Mastiff grinds his forearm in, but fans are dueling. More heavy elbows, cover, TWO.

Mastiff grabs Williams but Williams hits back. Mastiff’s knee knocks Williams down, then he whips Williams to dropkick him! Yes, Big Bad Dave did a dropkick. Williams gets to a corner, and fans rally, but Mastiff is on him. Mastiff whips Williams back into the corner hard, but Williams stands up. Mastiff whips but Williams reverses with a jawbreaker! Williams grabs Mastiff but Mastiff shoves him away. Williams hurdles Mastiff on the rebound, then springboards, but is taken out of the sky by Mastiff’s powerful right hand! Mastiff fires up, as do the fans, and he deadlifts Williams. Williams elbows out, then dropkicks the legs out.

Fans rally again, and Williams dumps Mastiff out. Willams sees Mastiff climbing back up, so he springboards for a back elbow! It was just enough to send Mastiff back down. Williams fires up, runs, and hits the wrecking ball dropkick. Mastiff staggers so Williams runs again to DIVE! Williams only staggers Mastiff, but Williams puts Mastiff in the ring. Fans rally up while Williams climbs up. Williams aims, leaps, and hits the Marty McFlying Elbow! Cover, TWO, and with such force! Williams is running out of ideas, but he still has something left. He clubs away on Mastiff, but Mastiff grabs his waist. Williams elbows away, then runs into a tilt-o-whirl, but Mastiff tosses him off! Williams flounders to a corner, and Mastiff comes running in, for another dropkick! Mastiff keeps going, cannonball!!

Cover, Mastiff wins!

Winner: Dave Mastiff, by pinfall; advances to the second round

The British Bull Mastiff downs Williams and moves on. Will he be met by Joe Coffee or Tucker in the quarter finals?

 

Flash Morgan Webster VS James Drake!

The Modfather and Mr. Mayhem have met in the past, but now they meet again for a chance at WWE championship gold. Will Flash (Ah~) Morgan take flight? Or will Drake drag him down to the ground and leave him in the dust?

The bell rings and the two circle fast. They tie up, and Drake powers Flash back. Flash turns it around as they go into a corner, but then Drake comes out with the wristlock. Drake brings Flash to the mat, but Flash gets up. Drake grinds his forearm then wrenches the arm. Flash spins, flips and reverses while fans chant for him. Drake rolls and flips back, to then forearm Flash in the face. Drake whips Flash, but Flash goes up and over. Flash side steps Drake, then speeds things up for a spinning Japanese arm-drag. He baits Drake to a corner and sticks out his boots, but Drake blocks and tosses him over. Flash comes back with another arm-drag! Drake gets up and Flash dances as he eggs Drake on. Flash blocks the kick and gets a takedown, then flips for an imploding senton. Cover, TWO!

Flip keeps on Drake, runs, and jumps for a guillotine hold! Drake gets the ropebreak, then sucker punches with an elbow! Flash drops down to the mat, but Drake grins as he brings Flash up for another shot. Drake drags Flash into a chinlock, but fans rally for Flash. Flash feeds off the energy but gets another forearm from Drake. Drake goes after Flash but Flash kicks him back. Flash kicks and throws hands, then forearms. Drake grabs Flash’s ear! Then smacks him with that #GritYourTeeth forearm! Cover, TWO!

Drake grimaces at Flash and wraps him back in the chinlock. Fans duel while Flash endures. Drake brings him down to the mat, and even gives a Dry Willie. Fans rally up and Flash gets up, but gets another forearm. Drake suplexes but Flash lands out of it, rolls Drake up, TWO! Flash gets to a corner and boots Drake away. They both go to corners, but Drake runs in. Flash goes up and over again, then around, to springboard, corkscrew senton! Fans fire up again and Flash gets up. Drake gets to a corner, Flash runs in, big forearm smash, then another. Flash keeps going, and dodges Drake’s counter attack to hit a knee strike! Drake rolls out of the ring, and Flash builds speed again. Flash FLIES with the senton!

Flash puts Drake back in, then climbs up, big crossbody! Roll through from Drake, TWO! Flash whips Drake but Drake go to the apron. Drake shoulders and forearms Flash down. Drake climbs up but Flash stops him with a swing kick. Flash climbs up to join Drake, SUPER Steiner! Cover, TWO! Drake survives the crash landing, but Flash won’t give up, either. Flash waits for Drake, runs in, but Drake blocks into Tombstone position, and turns it into a sit-out facebuster, aka the Downswing! Cover, TWO!? Drake is furious that Flash survived.

Drake stands up while fans chant for Flash. He brings Flash up, Flash rolls down for a cover but Drake sits on it, only for Flash to roll it back over, TWO! Drake grabs Flash’s wrist but Flash reverses to an uppercut! Flash fires up and runs, but Drake follows with a dropkick! Drake fires up now, then gets up top. Drake flips but has to bail out as Flash evades. His legs buckle, and Flash pounces with the tilt-o-whirl inverted DDT!

Cover, Flash wins!

Winner: Flash Morgan Webster, by pinfall; advances to the second round.

The Modfather flies high and takes the victory! Will he meet Tyson T-Bone or Jordan Devlin in the quarterfinals?

 

Zack Gibson VS Amir Jordan!

The King of Scouse Style and The Bhangra Badboy know their opponent in the next round, but must deal with each other first. Who will win and be ready for Jack Gallagher in the quarterfinals?

The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Gibson powers Jordan to a corner. He backs off at the count, but dares Jordan to come at him. Jordan circles with Gibson again, but Gibson powers him to the mat. Gibson goes after the wrist, but Jordan rolls and gets up, only for Gibson to wrangle him down again. Gibson brings Jordan up for a keylock, but Jordan gets to ropes. The referee backs Gibson off, but he gives Jordan a taunting kick. Jordan springs up to his feet in a huff, and Gibson tells Jordan to ignore the fans, only focus on him. They tie up, Jordan gets a hammerlock but Gibson elbows him away. Gibson then forearms and uppercuts Jordan, then whips him corner to corner.

Jordan goes up and over, but the arm-drag is blocked into a backslide. ONE, and Gibson grabs the legs to catapult Jordan. Jordan uses that to hop up onto the second rope, then jump out. Gibson gets under, but Jordan rolls back to headscissors Gibson down. Jordan dares Gibson to bring it now, and things speed up. Jordan clears Gibson then dodges him to run him over with a crossbody! Fans fire up as Jordan handsprings up. Gibson glares as Jordan dares him to bring the fight. Gibson lunges but Jordan gets around and hip tosses him down. Cover, ONE, but Jordan stays on Gibson with forearms. Jordan whips but Gibson reverses into a keylock driver! Gibson adds a dropkick and Jordan rolls to a corner.

Gibson drags Jordan up to club his shoulders, then rock him with a haymakers. He reels Jordan into a lariat, then stomps away. Jordan hits back, but Gibson forearms him to a corner. Gibson goes after the arm again, but Jordan snapmares counters. Gibson keeps hold of the wristlock for a takedown, then a hammerlock stomp! Jordan clutches his arm in pain while Gibson talks trash. Gibson brings Jordan up for a EuroUpper, then hooks Jordan’s face for the cover. TWO, but Gibson just looms over Jordan. He toys with Jordan so Jordan kicks back. Gibson shotgun kicks Jordan down, then drags him up in a corner. Gibson goes after that arm again but Jordan hits back. Jordan can’t break free, and Gibson elbows him for a straight-arm suplex!

Gibson keeps on Jordan with forearms, then brings him up again. Snap suplex, then cover, TWO! Gibson clamps onto Jordan again with the half-nelson chinbar. Fans build to a rally, and Jordan endures as Gibson thrashes around. Jordan stands, hits back with body shots, then a jawbreaker. Jordan runs, dodges, and crossbodies again! He keeps on Gibson with forearms, but Gibson covers up in a corner. The referee backs Jordan off but Jordan dropkicks Gibson out of the ring. Jordan kips up, builds speed, and DIVES! They both hit railing but Jordan puts Gibson in the ring. Jordan climbs up, takes aim, and fans rally. He leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO! So close and yet so far. But Jordan doesn’t give up hope, he has fans on his side.

Jordan runs at Gibson, but is put on the apron. Gibson hobbles away, but Jordan slingshots in for the complete shot! Cover, TWO! That was even closer than earlier! Jordan gets up, as does Gibson. Jordan clubs then brings Gibson up but Gibson arm wringers Jordan down! Gibson stalks Jordan, brings him up, and scoops for the Tombstone, into the swing-out gutbuster! Cover, TWO!! Gibson grimaces and glares at Jordan. “You do not belong here!” Gibson grabs the arm but Jordan grabs the ropes.

The referee backs Gibson off, but Gibson gives Jordan another forearm. Jordan forearms back, so Gibson hits him again. Jordan puts his all into another forearm, but Gibson throat chops. Gibson prepares but misses, Jordan enziguris! Gibson kneels, dazed, and fans rally for Jordan. Jordan boots Gibson, then hops up, tornado, but Gibson blocks with power. Jordan tries to make it a guillotine but Gibson powers through to a suplex, Helter Skelter brainbuster! That’s not all, Gibson brings Jordan around and slaps the back of his head again and again, before locking in a keylock clutch, aka the Shankly Gates!

Jordan taps right away, Gibson wins!

Winner: Zack Gibson, by submission; advances to the second round

Liverpool’s Number One is now through to the quarter finals, and will face Jack Gallagher. The Extraordinary Gentleman already defeated a great grappler in Drew Gulak, but will this grappler prove to be an even tougher challenge?

 

Ashton Smith VS Joseph Conners!

The Righteous Killer Conners takes on the Jamaican Prestige, and the winner moves on to face Travis Banks in the next round. Will Conners’ second time in this tournament be a complete success? Or will Ashton D-Rock him out of the tournament?

The bell rings and they tie up. Ashton puts Conners on the ropes but they break quickly. They tie up again, Conners gets the waistlock but Ashton standing switches. Conners switches, grabs a leg, but Ashton gets to ropes. Conners backs off, and they circle again. They tie up and go around as fans rally. Conners puts on a headlock, but Ashton works against the hold. Ashton hits back then powers out, but Conners runs him over. Conners speeds things up, Ashton dropkicks him down! Cover, ONE, but Ashton keeps on Conners. Conners shoves him back, but runs into Ashton’s calf kick! Ashton whips Conners corner to corner but Conners reverses. Ashton goes up and over, then back drops Conners way up!

Conners runs back at Ashton but Ashton throws him out. Ashton builds speed and slides, but Conners traps him in the apron skirt! Conners then clobbers away on Ashton! The referee counts and Conners lets up for just a moment before he gives stiff clubbing forearms. Conners also elbows Ashton, then drags him out of the skirt. He drags Ashton up and into the ring, but places him on the apron for more vicious clubbing arms. Conners enters the ring, then gives springboard stomps. He drags Ashton up and bumps him off a buckle. Ashton flounders, but Conners is on him with another stomp. Cover, ONE, but Conners grabs Ashton by the ear. Conners has a thing about ears given how one of his is half gone. He reels Ashton into a big lariat! Cover, TWO!

Conners keeps on Ashton with a chinbar, but fans rally up for Ashton. Ashton stands, and pries his way out to run and sunset flip! TWO, and Conners gives Ashton a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Conners toys with Ashton now as he bumps him off buckles. He clobbers Ashton with clotheslines and elbows, then brings Ashton out. Conners suplexes, float over, TWO. Ashton starts to frustrate Conners but fans are on Ashton’s side. Conners puts on a chinlock and keeps Ashton grounded. Conners shouts that he won’t let Ashton take his spot. Fans rally again, and Ashton gets up. Ashton fights back with elbows, then runs, but Conners trips him! Conners drops elbows, then covers, TWO.

Conners brings Ashton up for another buckle bump, then brings him back to the apron. He bends Ashton against the post! The referee counts and Conners lets go at 4, just to do it again. Conners returns in the ring, and baseball slides Ashton into the post ribs first! The referee reprimands Conners but Conners argues back. Ashton slumps to the floor while fans boo Conners. Conners waits for Ashton to return, to baseball slide him again! He shouts that Ashton is NOT taking this tournament from him. Conners puts Ashton back in and covers, TWO. Conners stomps those damaged ribs, and uses it as a cover, TWO. He won’t let up on Ashton, and he grabs that ear again.

Conners stands Ashton up, but Ashton fights back with body shots. Ashton fireman carry but Conners slips out. Conners waistlocks, but Ashton swings a back elbow. Conners ducks under to turn it into a bearhug! He powers Ashton into buckles, then backs off. Ashton elbows Conners away, but runs into an abdominal stretch! Ashton endures, but Conners slaps and clubs him. Fans rally again, and Ashton pries his way out. Ashton forearms Conners but Conners throws body shots. Conners and Ashton both grit their teeth, but it’s Ashton with haymaker after haymaker! He whips, Conners reverses, but Ashton leaps for a lariat! Ashton rallies, half-nelson backbreaker!

Fans are fired up for Ashton, and he runs in for a big knee in the corner. Ashton rolls Conners, hops up, leg lariat! Cover, TWO! Ashton tries again, but Conners slips out to the apron and Ashton hits buckles. Conners slingshots for a complete shot! Cover, TWO!! Fans cheer for the tough as nails Ashton. Conners stalks Ashton, drags him up, and prepares the Razor’s Edge, but Ashton slips out and gets the takedown. Conners shoves Ashton away, and catches him in an inside cradle, TWO! Ashton runs, tilt-o-whirl into dragon sleeper, and grabs Conners arm, for a ripcord DDT! AKA, the Ash Cloud!

Cover, Ashton wins!!

Winner: Ashton Smith, by pinfall; advances to the second round

History repeats itself as Conners is eliminated early again. Ashton shows respect to Conners by offering a handshake. Conners thinks about it, but just leaves the ring. Ashton may not have won his opponent’s respect but he did win the match. Can Ashton keep winning when he faces Travis Banks in the quarter finals?

 

Tyson T-Bone VS Jordan Devlin!

Two more returns from the original tournament, The King of the Gypsies would lose in the first round to the Last King of Scotland, Wolfgang, while Finn Balor’s former protege would lose in the second round to eventual inaugural WWE UK Champion, Tyler Bate. Who will move on to face Flash (Ah~!) Morgan in the second round?

The bell rings and Devlin dances around the bigger man. They tie up, and T-Bone powers Devlin into a corner. T-Bone backs up, but swings, only for Devlin to duck and chop. That chop didn’t do much, so Devlin backs off. They tie up again and T-Bone puts Devlin back in the corner. Devlin ducks and chops again, with more sting this time. Devlin dares T-Bone to come out. T-Bone does but Devlin kicks low. Devlin tries to whip but T-Bone blocks and reverses. Devlin goes up and over, then dodges to enziguri! T-Bone is only dazed, but Devlin blocks his kick to give a back elbow. Devlin snapmares T-Bone to kick him in the back, then double knees from the front. Cover, ONE and T-Bone gets out of the ring.

T-Bone catches his breath, but Devlin builds speed, only to run into a clubbing clothesline! T-Bone puts Devlin into a corner and fires off body shots. That bare knuckle brawling history comes in handy, but T-Bone also grinds in a boot. He backs off at 4, but drags Devlin up to whip him corner to corner. T-Bone lifts Devlin for a backbreaker, covers, ONE. Devlin sits up but T-Bone drives in a knee. Fans rally, but T-Bone drops a knee. Devlin gets up but gets a right hand. He goes to ropes, but T-Bone bumps him off buckles. T-Bone chops Devlin while fans duel. Devlin kicks back but T-Bone sweeps his legs. T-Bone drives in a stiff knee, and Devlin is dazed. T-Bone drags Devlin to a cover, TWO.

Devlin tries to catch his breath but T-Bone is on him with a neck wrench. Devlin stands up while fans rally, and pries his way out of T-Bone’s grip. T-Bone knees low, but Devlin dodges again to throw hands. T-Bone shoves then blocks Devlin’s kick, to boot Devlin down. He adds an elbow drop, covers, TWO. T-Bone keeps his cool and drags Devlin back up. He rocks Devlin with a powerful right, but he doesn’t let up. He throws a forearm into the kidneys, then kicks him in the ribs. Devlin gets to a corner, but T-Bone keeps going as he grinds a thumb into the throat. The referee backs T-Bone off, and Devlin boots him back. Devlin does another boot, then dropkicks the legs out.

Devlin runs in but T-Bone puts him on the apron. He still swing kicks T-Bone away, then slingshots in for a cutter! Cover, TWO! Devlin grows frustrated, but fans are rallying. Devlin and T-Bone stand, but T-Bone throws Devlin with an overhead belly2belly! Cover, ONE, but T-Bone is right on Devlin with a Jackhammer! Cover, TWO, and T-Bone can’t believe it. T-Bone glares down at Devlin, then brings him back up. He brings Devlin in but Devlin slips out, and both men hit the other with haymakers. Devlin staggers back while T-Bone simply shakes it off. T-Bone runs but into the post! Devlin hits the spinning roundhouse!

High stack cover, Devlin wins!

Winner: Jordan Devlin, by pinfall; advances to the second round

History repeats for both men as T-Bone goes out early while Devlin makes it to the quarterfinals. Will history continue to repeat for Devlin against the Modfather? Or can he break the trend before it begins and make it all the way to the end?

 

Tucker VS Joe Coffee!

#JustTucker was the first man to fall to Tyler Bate in the inaugural tournament, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Meanwhile, The Iron King is the current Scottish Wrestling Alliance’s Scottish Heavyweight Champion looking to be champion of the entire UK! Only one man will advance and meet Dave Mastiff in the next round!

The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Coffey powers Tucker to a corner. The two scrap but Coffey backs off and they circle again. They tie up again, and Coffey again powers Tucker back. But Tucker turns it around and puts Coffey in the corner. Tucker backs up and the two circle again. They tie up, Coffey gets the arm, and wrenches the wrist. Tucker flips and reverses the wristlock onto Coffey. Coffey rolls and reverses and drives Tucker to the mat. Tucker rolls up and gets a headlock. Coffey powers out, they collide shoulders but no one falls. They both run, but Coffey goes perpendicular to Pounce!

Tucker gets to a corner, but Coffey throws body shots. Coffey rolls Tucker with authority, then chops him in the other corner. He whips Tucker corner to corner but Tucker goes up and over. Tucker handsprings, ducks under, then hops up for a springboard back elbow! He handsprings again to show off, covers, ONE. Tucker takes aim, but Coffey sees the kick coming and gets to ropes for safety. Tucker runs in, but into Coffey’s boot! Coffey double underhooks and swings Tucker around! He goes around and around and around, then throws Tucker overhead with the butterfly suplex. Cover, TWO! Coffey keeps his cool while Tucker flounders.

Coffey brings Tucker up for body shots, then a clubbing forearm. He keeps going but Tucker dodges to chop and throw his own hands. Coffey turns it around and throws more hands. He gives a stiff EuroUpper, then powers him all the way to the other corner. Fans rally for Coffey, and he soaks it in. Coffey brings Tucker up, wrenches the arm and brings Tucker to the mat. He puts on pressure, then wraps it around for a cobra clutch. Tucker endures, but it becomes a straitjacket now. Coffey bends Tucker back but fans rally and Tucker pries his way out. Tucker tries to put the straitjacket on Coffey, but Coffey spins through to put it back on Tucker. Coffey rams his knee in and Tucker sits down. Coffey adds pressure but Tucker is up again, only for Coffey to shoulder him down, and even stomp him.

Tucker springs up to mule kick, front kick and chop. Tucker runs, but into a bearhug. Coffey powers Tucker to ropes and then tees off with body shots. Coffey snapmares and drops a knee on the back. Cover, ONE! And Coffey is rather amused. Fans rally and Coffey brings Tucker up in a chinlock. Tucker pries his way out, then snapmares Coffey. Things speed up, and Tucker throws Coffey with a headscissors! Tucker runs in but is put on the apron. He forearms Coffey back, then steps in for the complete shot! Cover, but they’re too close to the ropes. Tucker adjusts and covers, TWO.

Fans rally up for both men, and Tucker climbs up high. Tucker swantons, but onto knees! Coffey runs in, and a big dropkick sends Tucker into the corner. Coffey runs again, but Tucker gets up and follows. Tucker dodges Coffey, Coffey blocks the kick and flips Tucker. Tucker lands on his feet, only to get the Black Coffey discus lariat!

Cover, Coffey wins!

Winner: Joe Coffey, by pinfall; advances to the second round

History repeats for Tucker, but again, he lost to the eventual champion. Does that mean the same will happen for The Iron King? Or will Big Bad Dave Mastiff have something to say about that in the quarterfinals?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A pretty solid opening round for the tournament, with all the matches being pretty good at roughly 10 minutes each. The best overall story probably comes from Gulak VS Gallagher, given their interactions on 205 Live. Once Gallagher returns to 205 Live this Tuesday, I doubt they’ll give much more acknowledgement to what happened between him and Gulak than a few words. Then their story with THE Brian Kendrick against Lucha House Party will resume as planned.

At this point in time, the front-runners for tournament winner would have to be Coffey, Banks and perhaps Devlin. Coffey has been pretty big in the UK scene, with not just the Scottish Heavyweight Championship but two reigns with the ICW WHC. Banks is the current Progress World Champion, and his style is stiff but swift like Dunne’s. Devlin works because of the chip on his shoulder with being Balor’s trainee and it’d be a strange obnoxious underdog story where he validates his ego with all these wins. Now whether even those three could defeat Dunne, that is still up in the air.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Best of the Super Juniors 25, Final Round!

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on

The best of the Junior Heavyweight Division battled it out, and now the best two stand tall to face each other! Taiji Ishimori came to NJPW to prove he is THE best Junior Heavyweight in the world today, but he’ll have to go through Hiromu Takahashi to do it! Who will win and earn a shot at Will Ospreay’s title?

 

This review of Best of the Super Juniors 25 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

Gifs courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Best of the Super Juniors Finals: Taiji Ishimori VS Hiromu Takahashi; Hiromu Takahashi wins and will challenge Will Ospreay for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship at Dominion.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS review what led to this final round.

“Bone Soldier” returned to Bullet Club, but it was revealed to be Pro-Wrestling NOAH’s Taiji Ishimori! Wrestling Dontaku would be where and when Ishimori attacked Will Ospreay, and making his claim to the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. Both Ishimori and Ospreay participated in the premier Jr. Heavyweight round-robin tournament, and ended up tied 5-2, but one of Ospreay’s two losses was a loss to Ishimori! Not only would that help Ishimori advance, that proved he could defeat Ospreay clean.

But on the other side of things, Hiromu Takahashi, another of Ospreay’s rivals, also went 5-2 and advanced with his win over yet another of Ospreay’s rivals in Kushida! Now they meet, both determined to get one more match with the Aerial Assassin! Will the Ticking Time Bomb blow up the Bone Soldier? Or will Ishimori drive-by Takahashi on his way to the top?

 

Best of the Super Juniors Finals: Taiji Ishimori VS Hiromu Takahashi!

It’s a first-time-ever match-up of two of the best. Ishimori did everything there is to do as a Junior Heavyweight in Pro-Wrestling NOAH, from being a Three-Time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion to being a Six-Time GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion. Meanwhile, Hiromu has only just begun his legacy. Whose legacy will grow with adding the Best of the Super Juniors trophy?

By the way, that sketch pad Hiromu has is given to commentary, and Jushin Thunder Liger takes a look inside. It seems Hiromu has written notes on his opinion of the other Super Jr. competitors. Clearly he prefers ACH more than he does Ishimori, going by that smiley face.

Hiromu’s opinions aside, Red Shoes does his check of both men and see they’re clear of anything prohibited. The bell rings, and the match begins, after the break.

NJPW on AXS returns and the fans are strongly behind Hiromu. Hiromu and Ishimori stare down, then slowly start to circle. They tie up but then back off. They approach again, but go back to circling. Finally they tie up, and are evenly matched in strength. Hiromu manages to back Ishimori up, but Ishimori turns it around to put Hiromu against the ropes. Red Shoes calls for the break, and Ishimori backs off, only to swing! Hiromu dodges and whips but Ishimori reverses. Hiromu stops himself to whip again, and reel Ishimori in for a forearm. He puts Ishimori on the second rope to then kick the rope, jacking Ishimori’s jaw. Hiromu runs and blasts Ishimori with a dropkick!

Ishimori ends up outside the ring, and Hiromu builds speed, but Ishimori comes back to headscissor Hiromu down! Ishimori goes after Hiromu in the corner for a whip, but Hiromu slides out. The chase is on as Ishimori pursues, but Hiromu leaps over! Ishimori holds ropes to prevent the sunset flip bomb. He backflips and now they start brawling with forearms! The brawl ends up going through the crowd! Hiromu knocks Ishimori down at the entrance, then drags him back up. Hiromu tosses Ishimiro over the railings, and now they go up the stairs! Ishimori breaks free of the headlock and they brawl again! Hiromu rakes the eyes, then stomps Ishimori down. Hiromu gets plenty of distance, and then runs back in for that John Woo Dropkick!

Ishimori gets blasted, and fans fire up for Hiromu. Hiromu wants everyone to clear the steps, and he brings Ishimori up by his hair. Hiromu brings Ishimori into bomb position, but Ishimori huricanranas Hiromu down those stairs!

Both men are down, but Ishimori is up first while Red Shoes checks on Hiromu. Ishimori walks down and fetches Hiromu, and the 20 count finally begins. It reaches 6 as Ishimori stomps on Hiromu. Ishimori leaves Hiromu at the mercy of the count, and he returns to the ring at 14. Hiromu scrambles to beat the count by 19! But Ishimori is upon him again, putting on a cravat hold to focus on that neck. Ishimori cranks on it, but Hiromu fights out. Ishimori snapmares, and grips Hiromu’s head with his feet. He spins around, and tweaks Hiromu’s neck! Hiromu rolls away but fans rally up for him. Ishimori just tunes it out while Hiromu gets away. Ishimori pursues and throws Hiromu into a post. Fans and Young Lions have to be careful as Ishimori bowls Hiromu into chairs!

Ishimori uses one chair to grind Hiromu into the ground, a wicked grin on his face. Ishimori backs off and returns to the ring, but Hiromu stands. Hiromu returns at the count of 9, but Ishimori is on him again. Ishimori chops Hiromu in a corner, then whips him corner to corner. Hiromu boots but is turned sideways for the swing kick! Ishimori runs, and hits Hiromu with a sliding German Suplex! Fans do applaud, giving credit where credit is due. Cover, TWO, and fans rally again for Hiromu. Ishimori drags Hiromu up, snapmare into chinlock. Hiromu endures while fans rally more. He stands up and fights out of the hold. Hiromu runs, but into the sleeper!

Ishimori gets a takedown, and turns his sleeper into a bully choke. Hiromu endures the wrenching and stretching, while also reaching and crawling for ropes. Hiromu uses his legs for the ropebreak. Ishimori lets go, but keeps his cool. He stalks Hiromu to a corner, and chops him again. He whips Hiromu corner to corner but Hiromu reverses with speed. Hiromu runs in but Ishimori slips out then back in, and then out again to shoulder Hiromu back. Ishimori springboards, but Hiromu trips him up. Hiromu runs, and gets the sunset flip powerbomb this time! The Bone Soldier just got blown up, and we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and the 20 count begins again. Hiromu is up at 6, and in the ring at 10. Ishimori stirs at 13, and manages to beat the count at 19, though gingerly. Ishimori stands in a corner, but Hiromu runs in for a big clothesline. Hiromu rolls Ishimori out to then run and basement dropkick him. Cover, TWO. Hiromu keeps his cool while fans cheer for him. He stands, and toys with Ishimori. He brings Ishimori up to chop him into the corner. Then he whips Ishimori, but Ishimori reverses. Ishimori runs in, but into a boot! Hiromu grabs Ishimori for a hanging triangle headscissors! Red Shoes counts, and Hiromu lets go at 4. Then Hiromu drags Ishimori out, wheelbarrow facebuster on the floor!

But Hiromu has more in store as he gets on the apron. Ishimori stands up, and Hiromu blasts him with another John Woo Dropkick! Ishimori ends up bowling into chairs! Hiromu catches his breath before firing up. He fetches Ishimori from the front row and brings him into the ring. Hiromu climbs up, Ishimori stands, and Hiromu hits a flying cannonball! Cover, TWO, but very close. Hiromu stands while Ishimori stirs. He drags Ishimori up, fireman’s carry, but Ishimori slips out. Hiromu elbows Ishimori off the waistlock, then runs, but Ishimori follows. Ishimori handsprings, but Hiromu clobbers him out of the air! Hiromu’s seen Ospreay do that enough times to know how to counter.

Hiromu and fans fire up again, and he brings Ishimori up again. He brings Ishimori up in the fireman’s carry again, but Ishimori pops out to victory roll! TWO, into a crossface! Hiromu endures, but then Ishimori turns it into the Lebell Lock! Ishimori has that arm threaded, but Hiromu won’t quit. Hiromu drags himself with one arm and both legs, even as Ishimori wrenches back. Hiromu keeps going, and uses those legs to get the ropebreak again! Ishimori lets go, but he stomps Hiromu before bringing him up. Hiromu hits Ishimori, but Ishimori hits back. Ishimori dares Hiromu to hit him again, so Hiromu does. They brawl with forearms again, going back and forth. Hiromu hits, Ishimori hits harder, but Hiromu comes back to hit again and again and again. Hiromu runs, misses, Ishimori runs and tilt-o-whirls Hiromu into the Lebell!

Ishimori wrenches back but Hiromu drags himself around again. Hiromu inches closer and closer, but Ishimori rolls him away from the ropes! Ishimori keeps that Lebell on, but Hiromu refuses to quit! Fans are thunderous for Hiromu, and he claws at the grip. Hiromu drags himself around again, and grabs onto Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping. He then scrambles, only for Ishimori to make it Rings of Saturn! Ishimori even grabs at the legs, but somehow, Hiromu still gets the ropebreak! Ishimori lets him go, but both men are down from exhaustion. They catch their breath while rolling away from each other. Fans rally as both men drag themselves up to their feet.

Ishimori takes aim, runs in, but misses! Hiromu runs in but misses, but then he ducks Ishimori! Hiromu goes after Ishimori on the second rope, German Suplex! But Ishimori lands on his feet! He gets running, but runs into Hiromu’s overhead throw! Hiromu catches his breath while Ishimori is down in the corner. Ishimori slowly stands as Hiromu runs, and Hiromu runs Ishimori over with a powerful lariat! Hiromu drags Ishimori up, fireman’s carry, Time Bomb! Cover, TWO!? Ishimori survives?! Fans are thunderous while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and both men slowly stir. Hiromu sits up first, but Ishimori gets himself to a corner. Hiromu runs in, hits the clothesline, then hoists Ishimori up. He climbs up to join Ishimori, and hits a super wheelbarrow! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu grits his teeth as he stands up again. He brings Ishimoriu up, fireman’s carry, and then he Death Valley Drivers Ishimori right into buckles! Hiromu drags Ishimori up again, another fireman’s carry, and spins, but Ishimori slips off! Ishimori deflects the superkick but Hiromu deflects the knee strike. Hiromu SUPERKICKS this time, but then runs into a boot. Ishimori Poison-Steiners Hiromu! But Hiromu springs right up to do it back to Ishimori!

Both men are down from such damage to their heads. Fans are at a fever pitch, and still cheering Hiromu on. Both men stir and Red Shoes checks on them. They’re okay to continue, so a count begins. Hiromu and Ishimori stir, they’re up at 7. They crawl towards each other, and brawl with forearms from the mat. Hiromu hits, Ishimori hits, then back again. Hiromu grins with wild eyes as he hits Ishimori again, but Ishimori shakes his head and hits back. They brawl while standing up, and now it speeds up. Hiromu runs out of gas, and Ishimori brings him up for another shot.

Hiromu manages to stand and gets his second wind as he hits back with forearms from both sides. He spins around, but into Ishimori’s jumping knee! Hiromu staggers back, fires up, but runs into a clobbering clothesline! Cover, ONE?! Hiromu shocks Ishimori, but he’s still pretty tired. He slowly stands, but Ishimori is ready. Ishimori runs and blasts Hiromu with a dropkick, then runs corner to corner for double knees! Ishimori drags Hiromu up and into Tombstone position, but turns it into a modified code breaker! Hiromu is dazed, Ishimori covers, TWO!! The superhuman effort is keeping the fans at that fever pitch.

Ishimori gets up, and says BANG as he staggers over. He drags Hiromu up, and lifts Hiromu for a brainbuster, but Hiromu arm-drags out of it! Hiromu goes to headscissor but Ishimori counters with a powerbomb! High stack cover, TWO, and Hiromu gets Ishimori with a triangle hold! Ishimori cartwheels but Hiromu holds on. Ishimori endures, deadlifts, but is brought down again! Hiromu squeezes as tight as he can, but Ishimori tries for a cover. It doesn’t stay, so he deadlifts again, buckle bomb! Ishimori is free, but both men are out of breath. Ishimori rolls away, then runs back in, for a big clothesline. He yurinagi slams Hiromu, then fires himself up. Ishimori climbs up, takes aim, but his 450 hits knees!

Ishimori writhes in pain, but Hiromu’s legs took some damage, too. Both men slowly get up, run in, Hiromu gets around to headscissor Ishimori into the triangle hold! Ishimori deadlifts again, but Hiromu lets go to double underhook! D DRIVER!!

Hiromu can’t make the cover, he’s just too tired. So he goes for the triangle again! Ishimori fades, already dazed from that driver. Ishimori tries a second effort as he grabs at Red Shoes. He keeps moving, reaching, and gets a ropebreak! Hiromu lets him go, but he’s still focused. He brings Ishimori up, fireman’s carry, but Ishimori slips out. Ishimori wants his brainbuster but Hiromu resists. Hiromu lifts again, for another Death Valley into buckles! Hiromu drags Ishimoro up one more time, and swings him for THE Ticking Time Bomb! Cover, Hiromu wins!!

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall; wins the Best of the Super Juniors 25, and will challenge Will Ospreay for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

For the first time in his career, Hiromu Takahashi is THE Best of the Super Juniors! The award ceremony will begin after the break.

NJPW on AXS TV returns…

Ishimori is helped out of the ring and to the back. Fans applaud, showing respect to him for his valiant effort. Meanwhile, Hiromu is presented with the Best of the Super Juniors trophy, poses for pictures, and sits down before taking the mic.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like it much at all.” That is to say, he doesn’t like saying this after the tournament. So he must apologize first. But Ospreay! Accept his challenge for that IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship! Will Ospreay comes out! He joins Hiromu in the ring, his title in hand. Aerial Assassin and Ticking Time Bomb stand, and Ospreay congratulates his rival. Everyone is so proud, even Ospreay. Hiromu won Best of the Super Juniors, well done. But that doesn’t mean a thing compared to the belt, because that means Ospreay is the real best Jr. Heavyweight.

Ospreay reminds everyone that he is already up two wins on Hiromu in the past, so Ospreay knows that Dominion will be easy. Ospreay vows to leave with his title, and proves he really is the best in the world. Champion raises his belt, challenger raises his trophy, who will be raising their hands after Osaka?

Ospreay takes his leave, and Hiromu says, “Ospreay. Thank you meow.” The Ticking Time Bomb is not intimidated, and continues to say “Did you all just see that?” Even those watching at home on TV, did they see it? For that matter, did all the Heavyweights see that? Even Liger saw that, right? This is how SUPER JUNIORS do it! Liger has to applaud for that one. “Five years ago today, in this same spot, I still remember what I said.” Hiromu still feels that way. His dream is to hold that IWGP J. Heavyweight belt, and to be a Jr. Heavyweight main event, prime timer!! “Nothing has changed! I’m exactly the same as I was then.” But even more, more, more, more, more, “Let’s have fun!” With everything he has to say already said, Hiromu finally celebrates.

But not just him, the rest of LIJ joins him! Naito, Bushi, EVIL and Sanada appear, and Hiromu shows off his trophy to them. And together, LIJ celebrate.

Hiromu kneels while Naito, Bushi, EVIL and Sanada move aside. Oops, the wing…

Well, that tarnishes the win a little bit. Hiromu kneels in apology to the hurt trophy. Is this a bad omen of things to come?

 

Backstage interviews.

Taiji Ishimori admits defeat. Today, Hiromu was the better man. But, Ishimori knows there’s more for him to show. There’s unfinished business. Ishimori agrees, though, it’s tough, but fun. Ishimori wants more, more, more! “New battles, exceeding our limits.” He wants to have more fun with Hiromu. “It’s reborn!”

Hiromu said this in the ring, but this tournament is more than just to name a #1 contender. He’s said it all along. Hiromu does apologize, he’s already challenged and lost to Ospreay many times this year. But just one more chance, that all he needs. Ospreay is the best, but so is Hiromu. They’ll settle this once and for all! Dominion is coming, who will truly be THE Best of the Super Juniors?

 


 

My Thoughts:

I was surprised to see AXS TV bring up the finals of the Super Juniors, but I suppose it really is the most important part of the tournament. At the same time, this does help AXS speed up their coverage of NJPW so that they can get to Dominion sooner. This is also the match that THE Dave Meltzer award 5.5 stars, thereby breaking his 5 star system, again. While Meltzer is right in giving this the best rating out of all the BOSJ matches, going over 5 stars seems a bit much. Just reaching 5 stars is more realistic, because it really did have great action and even great character and story work. They went all around the arena, and Ishimori was dead set on a submission victory, but Hiromu showed two can play that game.

It’s really great for Hiromu to go over here because his rivalry with Ospreay has been longer standing, Ishimori only just got to NJPW, and Hiromu is vastly more popular, as the fans showed tonight as they did not sway in their support of him. Hiromu’s interaction with Ospreay was great, but I’m a little sad AXS cut out the interactions with the rest of LIJ. There’s a great little bit where Naito and Hiromu were childishly fighting over the trophy until Naito hands the trophy back with a bow. It means a lot in story for Naito to give that sign of respect to his protege.

My Score: 9/10


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Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (6/16/18)

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ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 352

Best in the World is approaching, but ROH first brings us an amazing 10 Man Tag! It will be The Bullet Club, represented by Cody, Marty Scurll, Adam Page & The Young Bucks VS ALL of Los Ingobernables de Japon! Can the American Nightmare and his team overcome the most Tranquilo stable of NJPW?

 

All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Chuck Taylor VS Kenny King; Kenny King wins.
  • Shane Taylor VS Josh Woods; Shane Taylor wins.
  • 10 Man Tag: The Bullet Club VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Bullet Club wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Bullet Club speaks.

“LIJ, tonight, you have no excuses!” Does anyone know what the J in LIJ really stands for? Cody thinks it’s “jokes”, but that’s not it. Jobbers? No, they’re not jobbers. Juniors? No, that’s not it, either. Jerks? No no no. It stands for JABRONIES! Does anyone think LIJ could sell out 10 thousand seats on their own? No, and certainly not in “30 EFFING MINUTES!” LIJ, Bullet Club is coming for you!

 

Chuck Taylor VS

The K I N G tried to help Austin Aries, only for it to backfire, and then Aries stopped being his friend with an uncalled for attack! Can he snap back with a win over the returning Kentucky Gentleman?

Fans chant for “Chuckie T!” as the match begins. Chuckie offers a hand to uphold the Code of Honor, but Kenny wants a hug. Chuckie declines, hugs are for his Best Friend, Trent. Fans chant “Hug! Hug!” but Chuckie insists on the handshake. Kenny accepts the handshake, then gives long-distance hugs to the fans. Kenny and Chuckie circle and tie up, and Kenny puts Chuckie into a corner. He backs off at the ropebreak, and they circle again. They tie up as fans rally. Chuckie hammerlocks, but Kenny reverses and gets a headlock. Chuckie slips out to a facelock, but Kenny reverses back to a hammerlock. Kenny shifts back to a headlock but Chuckie powers out, only for Kenny to run him over.

Kenny fires up and dances, then runs, but things speed up. Chuckie leaps over but Kenny headlocks. Chuckie reverses to his headlock, but Kenny powers out now, only for Chuckie to run him over. Now Chuckie does a dance, then runs. Things speed up again, and Kenny arm-drags Chuckie. Chuckie gives an arm-drag, and the two stand off. The fans applaud, and now Chuckie gives Kenny a hug. Fans cheer for that! Kenny gives the hug, but then Chuckie fakes a move. The two stay good sports, and tie up again. Kenny gets a wristlock, but Chuckie rolls to reverse into a hammerlock. Kenny spins and whips but Chuckie holds ropes. They break but then hug again. Belly2belly from Chuckie! Chuckie grins as he dances. Kenny hits Chuckie back but Chuckie forearms Kenny down, and we go to break.

ROH returns, and Chuckie has Kenny in a corner. Chuckie scoop slams him, then shouts that he’s never missed a moonsault ever! He climbs up, then leaps, but he belly flops on the mat! And he slaps the mat in frustration over his first miss. Kenny gets up while Chuckie crawls away. Kenny runs in and jabs away, then bobs and weaves. He whips Chuckie and hits him with the heel kick! Kenny brings Chuckie up but Chuckie kicks low. Chuckie runs but is put on the apron. Kenny hits Chuckie with the Eddie Gordo Kick, then slingshots out to knock Chuckie down! Fans fire up, and a fan gets a selfie with Kenny! But the phone messes it up, so no actual selfie was taken. Kenny returns to the ring, climbs up top, and Chuckie stands. Kenny leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO!

Kenny keeps his cool, and reminds the fans to have their cameras ready. He hauls Chuckie up, but Chuckie slips off to hotshot Kenny down. Chuckie high fives the fan, then gets everyone fired up. It’s One Dog Night, the most dangerous slingshot stop! But Kenny dodges, so Chuckie slingshots back out to knock Kenny down! Chuckie’s stuck but he gives a thumbs up. Chuckie gets up, and finally that fan gets a selfie. Kenny gets back in the ring, but Chuckie follows. Chuckie shoulders in, then slingshots over, and counters the headscissors with a sit-out bomb! Cover, TWO, but fans rally up for Chuckie.

Chuckie brings Kenny up, but Kenny blocks the suplex. Chuckie clubs Kenny, then suplexes, but Kenny slips out. Kenny waistlocks, but Chuckie standing switches. Chuckie swings Kenny out, Sole Food! Chuckie runs, but into a glancing uppercut! He gets to a corner, and Kenny runs in, but into a knee! Chuckie suplex, Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up again, and Chuckie brings Kenny up. Kenny resists Chuckie’s move but Chuckie kicks low. Chuckie runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, TWO, but Kenny calls for his finish.

Kenny drags Chuckie up, fireman’s carry, but Chuckie small pakcage, TWO. Chuckie with the snap piledriver! Cover, TWO! And Chuckie grows frustrated. But then he fires back up and calls for his own finish. He lifts but Kenny slips out. Chuckie swings but Kenny gets behind, atomic drop to spinning roundhouse! Then, fireman’s carry and swing out, Royal Flush!

Cover, Kenny wins!

Winner: Kenny King, by pinfall

The K I N G feels a lot better after this victory, but he’s still got the Greatest Man That Ever Lived on his mind. Will Kenny get his hands on Austin Aries in the future to exact his revenge?

 

The Briscoes speak.

“People been asking a lotta damn questions.” Briscoes, what’s wrong with all? Why’ve you been going down this dark path? Why, Briscoes, Why? “First of all, who is y’all to be asking us these questions?!” Do you know they are? They’re the champs! So mind your business.

As for the Young Bucks, listen up and listen good. Mark gives them credit for being best in the world, at selling T-shirts and making YouTube videos and a bunch of other stuff! The Bucks can do so much! But #DemBoyz know there’s something the Bucks can’t do, and that’s take the titles from the Briscoes. Best in the World will bring an ROH World Tag Team Championship rematch between two of the best teams today. Who will prove themselves THE best in the world?

 

Shane Taylor is in the ring.

The Notorious Hitman tells Josh “The Goods” Woods that Woods was “dead to rights” in West Palm Beach, Florida! At least, until King Mo stuck his nose in their business. Not surprising that fans are booing, they’re all just like Woods and King Mo! They’re “used to disappointment.” But don’t worry, Shane Taylor will give Chicago something to cheer for when he pops his opponent faster than Derrick Rose did his ACL. Harsh words, but who is Taylor’s opponent? It’s The Goods himself!

Shane Taylor VS Josh Woods!

The tension is high even before the bell. No Code of Honor, and the two men circle, ready to strike. Woods kicks quick, then again, but Taylor gets back. Taylor rushes in, but Woods gets a waistlock. Woods tries to lift but Taylor is too big and strong. Taylor throws back elbows, but then Woods ducks the back hand to try a belly2belly! Taylor ear claps Woods, but then Woods runs. Woods springboards, but Taylor knocks him down with double ax handles! Taylor brags but fans boo and jeer while Woods rolls out of the ring. Taylor pursues, but Woods hits back. Woods throws hands but Taylor headbutts. Woods falls against the barriers, Taylor cannonballs!

Taylor trash talks Chicago while the 10 count begins. Taylor drags Woods up and then puts him on the apron. He climbs up, takes aim, and drops the guillotine leg! Taylor trash talks fans more while we go to break.

ROH returns, and Woods dodges Taylor in a corner. Woods runs in, but Taylor picks him up onto his shoulder. Taylor brings Woods around, but Woods slips into the sleeper and body scissors! Taylor gets a second wind, but Woods shifts down to a German Suplex! Woods holds on, and brings Taylor up again, for another German! He lets go but fires up, as does Chicago. Woods runs in the corner, flying wizard! Woods throws furious forearms, and the referee backs him down, but only for a moment as Woods comes back to ram in knees. The referee backs Woods down again, but Woods slips past, only to run into the One Hitter Quitter! Cover, Taylor wins!

Winner: Shane Taylor, by pinfall

The series between these heavy-handed brawlers is now tied, 1-1! There was no King Mo this time, but Taylor did get a bit lucky. What will happen when these two tie up again for the tiebreaker?

 

Dalton Castle is here!

The Peacock and ROH World Champion, along with his Boys, are here for a close-up look at the main event. Why? Because two of the ten men involved are his contenders at Best in the World for their Triple Threat title match! Though, he does love “Los Incorrigibles”, they’re a great team.

 

10 Man Tag: The Bullet Club VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!

The partnership between ROH and NJPW is on display as Testuya Naito leads Bushi, EVIL, Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi against the American Nightmare, the Villain, the Hangman and the Young Bucks! Will the winners be Tranquilo? Or just, too, sweet?

ROH returns and the teams sort themsevles out. Naito starts against Hangman Page, but Cody says he wants in. Fans want him to tag in, too, so Page obliges. Cody and Naito, the Bullet Club’s supposed leader and LIJ’s actual leader, get the fans fired up. They circle, but Cody flexes. Naito inspects Cody’s muscles, and is impressed. They’re good enough to spit on! Cody takes offense, and kicks Naito to drop and uppercut him. Cody runs, but Naito sends him out! Naito runs, builds speed, and Tranquilo! Cody is furious, throwing around chairs. He slips into the ring, ready to fight, but Naito tags out to Bushi while Scurll tags himself in. Scurll means no harm, but he just wants his turn. Fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” for their favorite villain.

Castle on commentary notes that while Scurll is super popular, popularity doesn’t equal ability. Castle is popular and also skilled, and he’ll prove that to everyone at BitW. That aside, The Villain circles with the Jet Black Death Mask, then tie up. Bushi wristlocks but Scurll gets to ropes to flip through. Scurll rolls and spins, then reverses into a headlock takeover. Bushi headscissors but Scurll pops out, then flaps his wings. Fans like that, and “Woop Woop!” for him more. Bushi kicks low, then pulls on the beard! Scurll grabs the fingers, but EVIL saves Bushi! Sanada tags in, but Scurll doesn’t want anything to do with this heavyweight championship tag team. Scurll turns around, so he double tags (if that’s allowed) to the Young Bucks!

Matt & Nick Jackson stare down with EVIL & Sanada, both teams being top tier teams around the world. The fans duel while the Bucks bring up Osaka. EVIL & Sanada shove the Bucks, so the Bucks shove back. Sanada & EVIL kick low, then whip the Bucks. The Bucks slip under the boots, then the clotheslines to- Nope, those kicks are blocked. The Bucks want EVIL & Sanada to “relax”, and that gets through to them. Sanada & EVIL let them go, but then all four put up their dukes. Fans applaud this sportsmanship, but the referee reminds them this is meant to be 1v1 match-ups at a time. That’s when Hiromu tags in! Fans go wild for the Ticking Time Bomb, so Scurll gets in to jaw with his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship rival. Bushi slithers in, but so does Hangman Page. Naito and Cody join in, and it’s a 5v5 stand-off!

The referee tries to defuse the situation, but it doesn’t work! It’s a 10 man brawl! They all pair off, Hangman tosses Bushi out while Naito and Hiromu do the same with Cody and Scurll. The two tag teams are still in the ring, and the Bucks get the edge. Nick runs and Matt alley-oops for the double dropkick! Bushi returns, but he gets the “You’re dead!” headscissors dropkick! The Bucks aim at Bushi and Naito, and hit double slingshots crossbodies! Sanada returns into the ring, and kicks Cody low. Sanada runs, but into Cody’s drop toehold, and Scurll adds the basement dropkick. Page adds the running shooting star!

Fans fire up while Scurll and Hangman help The Bucks hold Bushi and Naito in place. Cody does the Terminator kneel! Whether he’s the leader or not, that’s not his move, and fans boo him for it. Cody rises, runs, but Hiromu and Daryl Jr. intercept!

Fans are thunderuos as Daryl Jr. runs wild! Daryl Jr. hits down Scurll, but misses the Bucks, and they give double SUPERKICKS to Hiromu! Hiromu goes down, as does Daryl Jr, but Nick runs and FLIES onto Naito & Bushi! Fans are so fired up right now as Matt drags Hiromu up. Matt scoops Hiromu into Tombstone position, but Sanada stops Nick’s slingshot! Nick hits apron, so Matt dumps Hiromu down. Hiromu distracts the referee while EVIL brings a chair in. EVIL tries to pull a Latino Heat as he tosses the chair to Matt, but Matt tosses the chair back. They hot potato the chair, and EVIL just smashes through to knock the chair into Matt! Hiromu and Sanada take care of Cody and Scurll for good measure, but we go to break.

ROH returns and Sanada tags back in. Sanada rakes Matt Jackson’s back. Matt hits back with big haymakers, then whips, but Sanada reverses. Things speed up as Sanada jumps over, then again, but Matt stops to SUPERKICK Sanada down! But both men are down, so their teams rally up for them. Matt crawls, hot tag to Scurll! Sanada hot tags Hiromu, and they brawl with forearms, fast and furious! Fans love this endless stream of strikes, and it’s Scurll who gets the edge. Scurll runs, but Hiromu boots him! Hiromu runs, but into a mule kick, a stomp on the foot, and a shotgun knee! Scurll fires up again, as do the fans.

Scurll hits Naito and Bushi just because, then goes to the apron to SUPERKICK Bushi. He goes in then back out to the other apron, to SUPERKICK Naito! Both fans and Bullet Club rally, and even Castle likes what he sees from Scurll. Scurll returns to Hiromu, but Hiromu kicks. Hiromu runs, but falls for the 52 Fake Out. Not! But Scurll ducks the clothesline but so does Hiromu. Scurll ducks again, and goes for chicken wing! Hiromu breaks free, but ends up in a pumphandle, for Ghostbuster!

Cover, TWO!! Somehow Hiromu survives, and the rallying begins again. Scurll calls for the chicken wing again, does his spin, but Hiromu drops down to roll up! TWO, Scurll hits Hiromu with a European Uppercut. Scurll whips but Hiromu reverses, only for Hiromu to miss. Scurll runs, but is thrown overhead into buckles! Fans love it, even though both men are down. Scurll and Hiromu crawl, hot tags to Nick and EVIL! Sanada enters, too, and LIJ get Nick. They double whip him corner to corner, but Nick comes back to rally with strikes! Nick shining wizards then bulldog clotheslines them both! Nick hits Naito and Bushi just because, and he’s all fired up.

EVIL puts him on the apron, but Nick comes back with a slingshot “Suck It!” facebuster! Cover, Sanada breaks it. LIJ double whip but Matt saves his brother while tagging in. The Bucks knock LIJ back, then double slingshot sunset flips, into double sharpshooters! That’s Cease in stereo! “The! Elite! The the Elite!” echoes out, but Naito and Hiromu save EVIL and Sanada. LIJ whips Matt, but Matt ducks, Hangman double buckshots! But wait, Punishment Martinez is storming down the ramp! Hangman goes out to intercept and they start brawling!

These two won’t wait for Best in the World to settle their grudge! They fight all the way up to the stage, and to the backstage area, but we go to one last break.

ROH returns once more, and Bushi climbs up. Bushi missile dropkicks Matt down then Bushi-roonies up while Hiromu and Naito intercept Scurll and Cody. EVIL hobbles over to Matt and with Bushi’s help, whips Matt corner to corner. EVIL charges in for a big corner clothesline, then rolls Matt out for the others to QUADRUPLE dropkick Matt! Cover, but Cody and Nick break it. Another brawl begins, and Bushi is left alone with Matt in the ring. Bushi climbs up again, but Scurll returns. Scurll saves Matt, then hits a roaring elbow. Hiromu lariats Scurll, then sees Cody coming, yet still gets the Beautiful Disaster kick! Naito throws Cody with a headscissors, but Matt SUPERKICKS Naito! EVIL mule kicks Matt, then Bushi with the Destroyer!

Sanada returns, and LIJ groups up to lift Matt, Magic Killer! Bushi covers, but Nick drags the referee out! Cody attacks Sanada, then EVIL. Cody sends them out, tot hen run and FLY! He takes out EVIL, but Hiromu runs at Nick! Hiromu leaps over for the bomb, but Nick holds the ropes! Bernard the Business Bear attacks Hiromu! Then Nick asai moonsaults! Nick and Bernard high five, but then Bushi spits the green mist into Bernard’s eyes! Wait, that shouldn’t actually… But Bushi goes after Cody, but Cody standing switches. Scurll has his umbrella and swings, but Bushi gets out of the way, and Cody takes the hit! Naito hits Scurll with Destino!

But the Bucks SUPERKICK Naito together! Then SUPERKICKS for Bushi! The Bucks duck EVIL & Sanada, then SUPERKICKS! Fans fire up all over again, and The Bucks target Bushi. Bushi’s counter is countered, springboard for the FIVE STAR MELTZER DRIVER!!

Cover, The Bullet Club wins!!

Winners: The Bullet Club, Matt Jackson pinning

Bullet Club IS fine, but maybe not Bernard. Cody washes Bernard’s eyes out, though again, it shouldn’t matter. The fans chant for “All In!” but Cody and Scurll must first worry about Best in the World and their Triple Threat with Dalton Castle. If Bullet Club truly is fine, can the Allied Powers stay civil in their fight with The Peacock? Or will they implode and allow Castle to retain with ease?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A great night from ROH, as far as action goes. Chuckie and Kenny have a great match that is respectful and clean, as both men are Faces. Kenny wins to keep pace after what Austin Aries did to him, and I really hope that match comes sooner rather than later. Shane Taylor VS Josh Woods was good, but it keeps both guys strong because while Taylor wins, it was thanks to Woods being distracted that gave Taylor the win. The Briscoes give a really good, and even scary promo in regards to their attitude and their coming title match. The ROH tag champion Briscoes VS IWGP tag champion Young Bucks is going to be great. It’s just too bad it isn’t going to be winners take all since it’s an ROH event.

And that’s the one downside of tonight: the continuity error. This episode was obviously recorded in the set before even last week, which is very important. NJPW Dominion was on 6/9/18, and the Young Bucks would defeat EVIL & Sanada for their IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. Yet, this episode has EVIL & Sanada still holding those belts. However, there is a logical reason for this continuity error: spoilers. Fans in attendance would not have kept the secret if the Bucks came out with the titles before Dominion even happened. Perhaps the main event of 351, Briscoes VS Roppongi 3K, should’ve been swapped with this one so that continuity still works in some way. Though, that might have made everyone think the Bucks had a match against EVIL & Sanada just hours before their Dominion match…

My Score: 8.5/10


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