In case you somehow missed WWE’s non stop advertising these last couple of months, RAW is about to turn 25 years old. Happy Birthday RAW! To celebrate this momentous occasion I’ve dragged my way through a whole heap of great and not so great WWE Network content to compile a definitive list of my favourite moments in RAW history. Some of them are iconic, defining moments and some are just my own personal highlights. Enjoy!
DX showing Bullet Club how to invade a show properly when they paid a visit to Nitro, Ric Flair’s emotional retirement ceremony, The Festival of Friendship completely breaking my heart, Dolph Ziggler cashing in Money In The Bank and receiving the most insane pop, Triple H and The Undertaker setting the stage for Mania 27 without saying a damn word.
10. Shane O Mac Buys WCW
As disappointing as the WWF/WCW Invasion angle turned out to be, this was still an iconic moment in pro wrestling history. Not only was it the very last RAW of the Attitude Era, it was also the first ever simul-cast, with segments of both RAW and Nitro being broadcast across two networks at once. Just days before Shane was due to face his father Vince at Wrestlemania X7 – still hands down the best ‘Mania of all time = Vince went out to the ring to announce that he had finally beaten his long-term nemesis Ted Turner and bought out WCW.
His moment of glory was short lived though as Shane would appear live at the Nitro broadcast and announce that although the signature on the contract did say McMahon… it said SHANE MCMAHON! This moment added fuel to the fire in their already heated feud, and led to an almighty destruction derby match at Mania with Shane coming out on top.
9. The CM Punk Pipebomb
I always liked CM Punk, I think most people did to be fair, so it’s a shame that despite all his great matches he will forever be remembered for this infamous moment more than his god given talent. Nevertheless, Punk had every single wrestling fan in the world on the edge of their seats by cutting an unscripted promo in protest at WWE’s treatment of him and their apparent refusal to push him to the top. Over the course of the promo he repeatedly tore into the entire McMahon family, John Cena, The Rock and even went as far to say that WWE would be better off once Vince was dead. It was incredibly candid, but the reason it resonated with so many of us was that he was speaking the truth… the things that almost every fan of the business was thinking at the time. We will likely never see Punk return to WWE due to his fractured relationship with management, so this will more than likely be what he will always be remembered for.
8. The Undertaker v Jeff Hardy Ladder Match
An unusual choice, right? Well this is my list dammit! Until this point Jeff had almost always been known as no more than a tag team specialist alongside his brother Matt, but it was in this brutal encounter with The American Badass incarnation of Taker where he showed the world just what he could do as a singles competitor.
Competing in a ladder match was right up Jeff’s alley, and he pushed Taker to the very limit in a match that took the veteran right out of his comfort zone, but ultimately fell flat right at the final hurdle when Taker’s brute strength became too much for him. Jim Ross put in some of the best work of his life in making Jeff look like a legitimate superstar and his line ‘CLIMB THE LADDER KID, MAKE YOURSELF FAMOUS!’ will stay with me forever.
The icing on the cake was Taker raising Jeff’s hand in a show of respect, and solidifies this as one of my favourite moments in RAW history.
7. Destruction Of The Shield
Ah Evolution… everywhere they go there seems to be some sort of betrayal or break up! This time around though it wasn’t the members of Evolution committing the betrayal, instead they watched on as Seth Rollins turned on his Shield brothers in arguably one of WWE’s most surprising and shocking moments ever. It was one of those beautiful moments completely out of the left field which we so rarely see anymore… The Hounds of Justice were absolutely on fire at the time and were deeply embroiled in a rivalry with Evolution/The Authority, so having the charismatic, talented fan favourite Seth sell out by attacking Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose was the perfect way to set up his career defining heel turn.
Any betrayal is usually greeted with anger from the fans and solidifies you as a heel, but by splitting up the most over faction we had seen in years, WWE had pulled off a masterclass in how to generate heat. In the long run it ended up turning all three men into main event stars, gave us a fantastic three-way rivalry further down the line, and we even ended up seeing them reunite in 2017. So, all’s well that ends well!
6. The Prodigal Son Returns
I hate putting Shane O Mac in my list twice as I absolutely detest the guy, but this moment was undoubtedly one of the most shocking we’ve ever seen in WWE. We hadn’t seen Shane for 7 years at this point, so for him to show up completely out of the blue and stake his claim as the rightful heir to the McMahon throne was incredible. Fondly remembered by fans for his death defying exploits during the Attitude Era, Shane was welcomed by one of the loudest pops you will ever hear which almost brought him to tears in the ring.
Not only was this moment significant because of the somewhat tarnished relationship between the McMahon family, it also signaled the start of a new era and the first WWE Draft we had seen since the end of the brand split in 2011. RAW vs Smackdown Live has for the most part been fantastic since the 2016 split, and has brought us two great Survivor Series PPV’s, and although I don’t agree with the focus being on the management, seeing Shane and Steph’s verbal sparring has brought back some wonderful moments of nostalgia for this old fart.
5. The NEXUS Destroys RAW
This was yet another invasion angle which WWE managed to screw up by dragging it out too long and trying too many different and silly things, but you can’t take away how astonishing the arrival of The NEXUS was. The group, which was made up of all the rookies from the first class of NXT way back when it was more of a competition/reality show, completely decimated everything in their path on their debut. They beat the living daylights out of John Cena, CM Punk and Luke Gallows, trashed the ringside area, attacked various members of WWE staff, ripped up the floors, destroyed barricades and tore the ring apart leaving everyone in attendance astounded… we had never seen anything like this before!
The only downside to this segment was Daniel Bryan’s rather short-sighted decision to strangle a ring announcer which ultimately saw him fired for a short while. Nevertheless, this was one of the most exciting things I have ever seen watching WWE Raw, for a group with so many members to be this dominant had you genuinely fearing that nobody was safe. The NEXUS also introduced us to a plethora of future champions: Wade Barrett, Bray Wyatt, Ryback, Darren Young, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, Heath Slater and of course Daniel Bryan.
4. Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show
This one is honestly quite painful for me to write. Eddie is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time and was able to connect with the fans in a way that very few had ever done before him and even less will be able to do in the future. For him to be taken away at such a young age, leaving behind a wife and kids and with so much more to give was a very hard pill to swallow.
So why would I put this in my top 10 moments? Because it is important for me that people understand how hard Eddie worked to get to where he was, he had a tough upbringing but did everything in his power to make sure his family didn’t duffer the same. Follow this link and watch the show for yourself, then you’ll understand. The impact that Eddie had on not just the fans but also his fellow superstars will leave you bawling like a baby. Seeing grown men cry while telling stories about a wonderful human being, Eddie chants all night long, in ring tributes… it made for one of the most heartfelt and moving tributes ever recorded.
Eddie never did anything for himself, he always put his friends, family and the fans first. That’s because we were his family, every single one of us. Thank You Eddie.
3. The Very First Stunner
You could argue that this was the most important moment in the entire history of WWE. That’s a pretty bold claim I know, the company had some huge moments and huge superstars prior to this, but when you think of what made the Attitude Era so good, THIS is what you think of, and it helped to catapult Stone Cold Steve Austin into the GOAT debates.
It was the clumsiest Stunner you’ll ever see but it was also the most significant as it kicked off what was hands down the most intense, captivating and entertaining rivalry we had ever seen up until then. Not only did it do wonders for Austin, it did the same for Vince McMahon as it helped to develop his character of being the sinister, maniacal, egotistical boss from hell who made his employees lives miserable. We’ve all had a boss like that which is exactly why we were able to relate to so well, we all wanted to see the authority figure get his comeuppance and 99% of the time Austin delivered!
I said before that Eddie connected with the crowd like very few others could do… well Austin was one of those few who managed it, he could generate any kind of reaction he wanted whether he was a face or heel, and the crowd absolutely loved him for it.
2. The Finger Poke Of Doom
The night where WWE finally managed to turn the tide and gain their first ratings victory over WCW in a very, very long time… but it was their rivals they had thank. At the time WWE was a recorded show which aired 6 days later while WCW was broadcasting live. Referred to as the Finger Poke Of Doom after Hulk Hogan gained a pathetic pinfall victory over Kevin Nash, a very silly man called Tony Schiavone, commentator for WCW at the time, was instructed during the match by his boss Eric Bischoff to break the news that Mankind was due to become WWF Champion that night and proclaimed the infamous line:
‘”Fans, as Hollywood Hogan walks away and you look at this 40,000 plus on hand, if you’re even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, fans, do not, because we understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here one time as Cactus Jack, is going to win their world title. Ha! That’s gonna put some butts in the seats, heh”.
Well funnily enough it did put butts in seats. Mankind was such a huge fan favourite and underdog that Tony’s words encouraged several hundred thousands of fans to switch channels and see this feel good moment for themselves. This moment literally saved WWE from the financial difficulty they were going through at the time and rightfully deserves the penultimate spot on this list.
1. The Debut of Jericho
I have made no secret of the fact that Chris Jericho is the GOAT in my eyes, hence why I have his unforgettable debut in 1999 as my Greatest Moment in RAW History. Fans had been clamoring for him to jump ship from WCW to the big leagues for a long time, but nobody expected the cryptic clues and videos to culminate in Y2J interrupting The Rock on Raw that fateful night. But why is this my number 1 choice? Its just a debut, right? Wrong!
Chris Jericho has been every bit as important to WWE as the likes of Austin, Rock, Hogan, Flair and any other name you can pull from the plethora of legends we’ve seen down the years. His ability to reinvent himself and his character, stay relevant despite his exploits outside of WWE, he put over young fresh talent, his mic work is second to none, his incredible CV consisting of an impressive 26 championships and his in-ring ability which still puts some younger guys to shame. In the last couple of years, he has managed to make a scarf and an A4 piece of paper on a clipboard get more over with the fans than half of the roster.
His debut didn’t come at the expense of a local talent or a mid-card jobber, he introduced himself by going toe to toe in a war of words with The Great One and didn’t even come away as the loser of the confrontation. In my eyes, Chris Jericho has been the single most important thing to happen to Monday Night RAW, he helped to elevate the show like very few others could and is more than deserving of topping this list.
Drink It In Maaaaaan!
WWE Week in Review: November 5-11, 2018
As WWE leaves the controversy of Crown Jewel in the rearview mirror, all eyes turn to Survivor Series. What happened this week?
As WWE leaves the controversy of Crown Jewel in the rearview mirror, all eyes turn to Survivor Series. What happened this week?
On RAW, Baron Corbin deals with the fallout of his actions at Crown Jewel. The RAW Men’s and Women’s Survivor Series Teams begin to take shape. A dangerous new team forms in the Women’s Division. Team Boss Hart Hugs’ bid to earn spots on the Women’s team runs up against the ruthless Riott Squad. Seth Rollins tries to defend the tag titles on his own, and Kurt Angle tries to take back his spot on RAW.
On SmackDown, the fallout of Crown Jewel and build of the Men’s Survivor Series Team leads to some very surprising bedfellows. The SmackDown Women’s Team is announced, but there are some sour grapes that comes with the announcement. Becky Lynch fires back at Ronda Rousey, and deals with an insane challenger, and a dream match takes place.
On NXT UK, Pete Dunne takes on Danny Burch in a match you have to see to believe. Dakota Kai and Toni Storm go one on one in a bid to put their names in contention for the Women’s Championship. The Coffey brothers explain the shocking turn of events last week, and Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews’ old friend, Eddie Dennis makes his debut, but will bitterness spoil the reunion?
On 205 Live, Buddy Murphy takes on Mark Andrews in a cross-promotion pride match. The new team of TJP and Mike Kanellis try to gel against the Lucha House Party. Cedric Alexander tries to get back to his winning ways, and gets a surprising offer from Lio Rush.
On NXT, all eyes are turning to War Games. Johnny Gargano explains his actions against Aleister Black. Dakota Kai takes on the dangerous Taynara Conti, Mia Yim’s dream finds a challenger in the EST, and Lars Sullivan looks to take out his rage on Velveteen Dream.
So, what happened? Let’s find out!
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar was not at RAW this week, but he will be at RAW next week.
Braun Strowman vs Baron Corbin: Baron Corbin sought to explain his actions at World Cup, saying that he’d been trying to teach Braun Strowman a lesson in respect. He’d cost Strowman the match as retaliation for Strowman attacking him last week, though, it has to be said, Corbin deserved it. Corbin then said that he hoped that Strowman would understand that he needed to respect the authority of Corbin.
As you can well imagine, Braun Strowman was NOT in the mood to be understanding after being robbed of the Universal Championship. He wanted to get his hands on Corbin, and Corbin’s ‘crack’ security squad and the heels on RAW were no match for the irate Monster Among Men, and Corbin was eventually chased out of the building.
RAW Women’s Division: One of Corbin’s announcements for Survivor Series involved the Women’s Division and introduced Alexa Bliss as his ‘Administrative Assistant’ and as non-competing team captain.
Bliss addressed the Women’s Division, stating that she doesn’t want RAW to lose to SmackDown again this year and wants to see ‘killer instinct’, so the auditions for the RAW Women’s team starts tonight with Sasha, Bayley, and Nattie facing the Riott Squad starting as soon as the segment is over.
Nattie, Sasha, and Bayley were full of confidence in their pre-match interview. Nattie revealed that she’d brought her dad’s sunglasses, dedicating the match to her dad’s memory.
The match was really good. Both sides wanted to impress Alexa Bliss and showed a lot of aggression. It looked like Nattie was going to get her team another victory when Ruby Riott came up with Jim Neidhart’s sunglasses and BROKE them in front of a devastated Nattie. The match ended in a no-contest, but if Alexa Bliss was looking for killer instinct, the Riott Squad showed a lot of it.
Ronda Rousey, who will be meeting Becky Lynch at Survivor Series, cut a promo on her fiery opponent. Showing a surprising amount of arrogance, Rousey basically dismissed Lynch as a threat, stating that Lynch had her respect. She poo-pooed Lynch’s road to WWE, citing a childhood that sounds more like signs of a very dysfunctional family life, like her mom waking her up by trying to break her arms. She also mocked the various careers Lynch had while learning to wrestle, including being a flight attendant. She said that Lynch might call herself the Man, but Rousey is the Baddest Bitch on the Planet and tells Lynch to bring all her anger to Survivor Series because she wants a challenge.
At this point, Rousey was interrupted by her #1 Contender, Nia Jax. Nia thanked Ronda for getting her fired up for Survivor Series and warns Rousey that she’ll need that fire because Nia’s waiting…champ.
Nia took on her friend, Ember Moon, in a one-on-one contest. Ember seemed to have learned something from last week’s encounter because she managed to get more offense in, and the two ladies put on a pretty good match. However, like last week, Ember proved no match for Nia’s size and strength and the Irresistible Force had her hand raised in victory.
The real surprise came after the match was over. Nia had been having staredowns with her cousin, Tamina Snuka, for weeks and, as usual, Tamina showed up once the match was over. However, Tamina attacked Ember, not Nia. Nia seemed shocked for a moment and then joined in the attack, leaving Ember in the ring. The RAW Women’s Division now has a dangerous new partnership brewing.
RAW Tag Team Division: Last week, the Lucha House Party made their debut against the Revival, defeating the Top Guys, despite the Revival dominating the match. Not surprisingly, the Revival were NOT amused by the Lucha House Party’s antics, calling them an embarrassment to tag team wrestling and vowed to send them back to 205 Live.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose: Despite their falling out two weeks ago, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are still the RAW tag team champions. On Monday, Seth Rollins went to the ring wearing all three belts: Intercontinental Championship and both tag belts.
Rollins addressed the controversial Universal Championship match at Crown Jewel and said that Brock Lesnar holding the title again was a slap in the face to Roman Reigns, who fought so hard to win it, and to everyone in the locker room, being very critical of Baron Corbin’s role in the debacle.
Turning his attention back to his own problems, Rollins admitted that he’d wanted to come to Manchester with the belts AND the World Cup Trophy, but that didn’t happen. He addressed his former partner, Dean Ambrose, who had still not explained his actions two weeks ago. Rollins admitted that he couldn’t defend two titles at once, which seemed to imply that he was going to vacate the Tag Team Titles since he no longer had a partner.
At that point, he was interrupted by Corbin, who was clearly not happy about Rollins comments about him. Despite Rollins clearly not having a partner anymore, Corbin says that Rollins and his invisible partner will defend the tag titles against a rising team: AoP!
Despite the fact that AoP are both much larger than Rollins, who isn’t a small man, and aren’t the best wrestlers in the world, this was a great match. Rollins was able to make AoP look great without letting himself get squashed. The outcome of this match was never in doubt and we have new Tag Team Champions.
After the match, Dean Ambrose finally appeared and made his way to the ring. Sitting next to Rollins, he commented that Rollins wanted to know WHY Dean turned on him. As Rollins got to his feet, Ambrose dropped him with another Dirty Deeds, still with no explanation.
In a post-show interview, an angry Rollins said that he was done trying to get answer out of Ambrose by asking. Now, he was going to beat the answers out of his former friend. Good luck with that, Seth.
Dolph Ziggler vs Elias: Fresh off his shocking defeat at the hands of Shane McMahon at Crown Jewel, Ziggler looked to regain some momentum, especially since he’d been added to RAW’s Survivor Series team. Addressing his loss, Ziggler claimed that he’d been the victim of a vast conspiracy to screw him over yet again.
Before he could finish putting on his tinfoil hat, he was interrupted by Elias, who was very over with the UK crowd. Elias claimed that he wanted to play a song that two members of Oasis had liked and had promised to reunite if he did. He also took the time to insult Ziggler and his excuses, calling him a loser.
Ziggler wasn’t interested in Elias’ musical ambitions and challenged Elias to a match.
The match was really good. Ziggler and Elias worked really well together and put on a great match. Despite the best efforts of Ziggler, Elias would put the Show-Off away with his patented Drift Away for the win.
Jinder Mahal vs Apollo Crews: Apollo Crews has been looking to gain some momentum since leaving Titus Worldwide and has come up a little short in his attempts. This week, he faced Jinder Mahal, another RAW star who has been coming up short in his bids for momentum.
The match was good, but very boring. Apollo Crews would pull out the win with a standing moonsault.
Bobby Lashley (with Lio Rush) vs Finn Balor: Finn Balor and Bobby Lashley have been feuding for the last few weeks, egged on somewhat by Lashley’s hype man, Lio Rush.
This week’s match was pretty good. It’s still not really clear just what Lashley and Balor are feuding about, but the matches are always good, except for the constant annoyance that is Lio Rush.
Rush did prove his worth to Lashley this week by helping him get a win over Balor by causing enough distraction that Balor took his eyes off the ball and chased him, which gave Lashley the opening he needed.
Survivor Series: Before being chased out of the arena by the furious Braun Strowman, Corbin made several announcements for Survivor Series, including announcing the first member for the RAW Men’s Team: Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman. Corbin expressed the hope that once Strowman understood and accepted why Corbin screwed him out of the Universal Championship, he’d understand that he’s the best man for the RAW Men’s Team. Again, this was BEFORE Strowman chased him out of the building.
Corbin also said due to his status as RAW General Manager, he would not be competing in the match, but would be the team captain.
Kurt Angle, who is the REAL General Manager of RAW, came out and said that competing at the World Cup had lit a fire in him and he wanted into the Survivor Series match. Corbin refused, mocking Angle, so Angle offered him a deal. They would have a match on RAW and the winner would not only be on Team RAW but would be team captain. Corbin agree, but that had been before he’d had to run for his life from Braun Strowman.
Drew McIntyre vs Kurt Angle: Since Corbin was forced to vacate the premises, his spot in the Team Captain match was filled by Drew McIntyre.
The match was great. Angle and McIntyre worked very well together and were able to put on a really good match despite Angle’s age and injuries. Despite Angle’s best efforts, he would be forced to tap to his own Ankle lock by Drew McIntyre. Given that Stephanie McMahon is going to be back next week and that McIntyre was a substitute for Corbin, Angle could still get his wish to be on Team RAW, but time will tell.
Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 11/11/2018
Well this is certainly an odd weekend. Not exactly a ton of stand out stuff from the usual companies, but a lot of the usual suspects. Pro Wrestling NOAH has been putting on some of the best wrestling all year, and currently has their round robin tournament going on, and Northeast Wrestling had an event with some familiar names.
But before we get to this week, let’s not ignore the two votes we just finished. Let’s look at the MOTY pool since it’s nearly complete.
- January – NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Alma(c)
- February – New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
- March – NJPW Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
- April – NXT Takeover NOLA NXT Championship: Andrade Almas(c) vs Aleister Black
- May – WWE Backlash Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs The Miz
- June – NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs Kenny Omega
- July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
- August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
- September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis(c)
- October – Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte
So the Evolution match left a big enough impression on our voters to make it the only women’s match currently in the pool. As for last week, another WWE match won the vote, SmackDown WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Daniel Bryan.
Now let’s see what kind of variety we have in the list this week.
5. SmackDown: The New Day vs The Usos
Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E didn’t win back the tag team titles, but they have a chance to lead their brand into battle! However, so do Jimmy & Jey, as the winning team of this match will be captains of the Survivor Series team! But don’t get confused, it’s for the WWE Tag Team Division match.
The teams sort out and the New Day goes with Kofi and Big E. Woods tosses pancakes as Kofi starts with Jey. Jey and Kofi circle and tie up. Jey gets a headlock but Kofi powers out, only for Jey to run him over. Things speed up and Kofi jumps, but Jey catches him! Jey back suplexes but Kofi slips out to dropkick! Jey is out, Jimmy runs in but is sent out. Big E tags in, Kofi bounces as Woods plays the trombone. Kofi fakes out Jey, and Woods adds some “laughter”. Big E runs Jey over! The New Day has control while we go picture in picture.
Big E drags Jey up and in, cover, TWO! E tags in Kofi, and they work together for a leap frog senton! Cover, TWO! Kofi keeps on Jey with an arm wrench and armlock. Woods flings more flapjacks to the fans while Jey endures. Jey gets up but New Day brings him around for a whip. Jey reverses but Kofi goes up, only for Jey to kick his legs out! Kofi goes down and Jey tags in Jimmy. The Usos stomp Kofi, then Jey brings Kofi up. Jimmy uppercuts, then chops Kofi in the corner! Tag to Jey, and Jimmy feeds Kofi to a lariat. Cover, TWO! Jey drags Kofi away, tag to Jimmy. Jimmy runs as Jey holds Kofi down, leaping headbutt! Cover, TWO! Jimmy wraps Kofi in a chinlock, but fans rally for Kofi.
Kofi gets up and fights back, but Jimmy keeps him from the corner. Jimmy whips Kofi into the Uso corner and Kofi hits buckles hard. Tag to Jey, and the Usos stomp a mudhole into Kofi. Jey backs his brother off for the hesitation dropkick! Kofi gasps and rolls to an open corner, but Jey is right on him. Jey whips Kofi corner to corner hard and Kofi hits buckle then the mat. We return to single picture as Jey takes aim from across the way. “Uce! O!” Jey runs into Kofi’s double stomps! Fans rally up while The Bar watch from backstage. Hot tags to Jimmy and Big E! Jimmy runs into Big E’s overhead belly2belly suplex! Then another, then another! Fans fire up and Big E swivels the hips. Big E runs, but into an uppercut! Jimmy runs in, but into the urenag-E! Cover, TWO!
Big E has the fans rally up with the “New! Day Rocks!” clap. He scoops Jimmy but Jey tags in. The Usos double kick Big E away, Jey climbs up, Uso Splash onto knees! Big E scoops, Big Ending! Cover, but Jimmy breaks it just in time! Fans duel as Big E gets up. He keeps his eyes on Jey as he rolls to the apron. Jey stands, Big E runs and Kofi tags in. Jey dodges the DIVE and Big E hits the floor! But Big E gets up to barrel Jimmy into barriers!! Then he goes after Jey, to scoop him and run! Jey slips off to send Big E into the timekeeper’s area! The Usos regroup but Kofi climbs up high, SUPER TRUST FALL!! Woods checks on his team, and gets them going. Kofi puts Jey in, covers, TWO! Somehow Jey lives, and this match continues.
Fans rally up as Kofi brings Jey around. Jey breaks free but runs into SOS! Cover, TWO!! Both men are down but so are their partners. Jey hits Kofi to a corner but Kofi boots him away. Kofi quickly goes up and leaps, crossbody! Cover, TWO!! The New Day are frustrated but still in control as we go to break.
SmackDown returns as Kofi goes after Jey at the ropes. He kicks and punches away, then drags Jey up for a whip. Jey reverses but Kofi holds ropes, so Jey runs in. Kofi dumps him out, but Jimmy tags in! Jey hits Kofi, and then the Usos double suplex Kofi! Kofi fights his way out, Big E SPEARS Jey!! They both go down and Kofi hits Jimmy with Trouble in Paradise! Kofi drags Jimmy in for a cover, TWO!? How?! Kofi gets back up and brings Jimmy up. He headbutts Jimmy to a corner, then CHOPS. Kofi hoists Jimmy up top and climbs up to join him. Kofi wants the superplex, but Jimmy resists. Jimmy fights back, and headbutts Kofi down. Jimmy adjusts, but Kofi comes back, SUPER STEINER– Blocked into a powerbomb!!
Both men are down but Manchester is fired up. Woods tries to coach Kofi up as Jimmy climbs. Uso Splash! Cover, Usos win!
Winner: Usos via Uso Splash
Rating: *** 3/4
4. Stardom Goddesses of Stardom Tag League: Hazuki & Kagetsu vs Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora
Well our little Oedo Tai monsters refer to Kyona and Natsuko as the Short and Dumpy Piggies. So they seem more amused that the current tag champs are pigs, as opposed to concerned about a loss. Will the Oedo Tai shenanigans prevail, or will they eat their words?
This match had a little bit of everything. Early on Hazuki is in a submission and Kagetsu blatantly uses their toy mallet to wack Natsuko and then hand Hazuki her folded fan to beat Natsuko with. Another spot is a twist on Kagetsu’s usual water spot, but this time she dumps most of the bottle on Natusko’s head and spits the rest at Kyona.
That’s when it gets a little interesting, cause both Kyona and Natsuko just start wailing away on the extra members no selling some moves and just looking generally annoyed. After these dumb spots we get to some actual forward motion when Kyona flings Hazuki into a row of chairs, then Kagetsu to follow up before they both drag them back into the ring.
Surprisingly a lot of this match is Kyona and Natsuko in charge of the match. Hazuki even eats the big JAN Splash from the top rope, for a near fall. Oedo Tai never really gets a good handle on the match. Kagetsu lands a few suplexes, Hazuki hits a Codebreaker, but just as things look bleak, Hazuki hits her La Magistral cradle, the Hazukistral for a rather surprising win.
This match had a little bit of everything for most people, but still suffers from a little more of the goofy aspects of Japanese wrestling. Obviously a solid match, especially since there are a few elements for many to enjoy, but not really a stand out match for Joshi.
Winner: Hazuki via Hazukistral
Rating: *** 3/4
3. N.E.W. Redemption: Pentagon Jr vs Darby Allin
Not even gonna pretend here, I don’t know what a Darby Allin is really. So I couldn’t even begin to invent a lead in, so let’s just get to the match.
Pentagon does his usual “Cero Miedo” in the person’s face and Darby tries to take his arm. A quick back and forth leads to a Suicide Dive to the floor and Allin takes control on the outside until he goes to the top rope, Pentagon catches him and suplexes him right on the apron. Pentagon lights him up in and then back out of the ring with chops. Goes for his chops against the post. Misses the third one as usual, so Darby takes advantage, hits combination ear clapping strikes, a headbutt to the stomach and then a Code Red for a two count.
A strike exchange leads to Pentagon getting annoyed and threatening the ref, Darby tries to take advantage of the distraction but Penta hits the Hanging Double Footstomp in the corner for a near fall.
Allin puts together some interesting offense with a Stunner out of being over Pentagon’s should, his Coffin Drop Trust Fall, but Pentagon won’t be outdone, so he hits the Mexican Destroyer on the apron. The Destroyer was leading to the end, Darby tries to fight back, Pentagon breaks the arm and then hits a Fear Factor in the middle of the ring for the pinfall victory.
Now since I said I didn’t know Allin, I’m not unhappy with what I saw. His offense is a little unorthodox at times, and nothing was overly unique, but everything he did, he did well. So I might have to find more of his stuff.
Winner: Penta via Feat Factor
Rating: **** 1/4
NOAH Global League: Go Shiozaki vs Kazusada Higuchi
Winner: Go via Burning Lariat
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT UK: Toni Storm vs Dakota Kai
Winner: Storm via Neckbreaker
Rating: *** 1/4
NOAH Global League: Takashi Sugiura vs Kaito Kiyomiya
Winner: Kiyomiya via Counter Cradle Pin
Rating: *** 1/4
205 Live: Buddy Murphy vs Mark Andrew
Winner: Murphy via Murphy’s Law
Rating: *** 1/4
SmackDown: Rey Mysterio vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Winner: Mysterio via 619/Droppin the Dime
N.E.W. Redemption: Rob Van Dam vs Jack Swagger
Winner: RVD via 5 Star Frog Splash
NXT: Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan
Winner: Sullivan via Freak Accident
2. N.E.W. Redemption: Kenny Omega vs Fenix
Fenix shows that he’s a little faster than Omega early on. A few quick strikes and a diving Suicide Senton gives Fenix an early advantage. He takes Omega towards the ramp and goes for an Old School variation where he walks the guardrail, jumps off for a Frankensteiner, but Omega catches him and Powerbombs him onto the ramp.
Then we get a long period of Omega dominating. It should be noted, that during this period of dominance, Omega utilized a Camel Clutch and Triangle Cross Armbreaker, and submissions aren’t really what he’s known for. He lands a Kotaro Crusher, throws Fenix around outside, Fenix tries to fight back a little but the opening doesn’t happen until Omega throws him into the ropes and Fenix hits a Handspring Headbutt, followed up by a Springboard Headbutt and then a Rolling Cutter for the near fall. After this point we finally start seeing more of both of their styles.
Fenix hits a Fire/Thunder Driver for 2 and goes to the apron. The two exchange moves, before Omega gets the best of the exchange and Suplexes them both through the ringside table. Omega attempts the One Winged Angel numerous times, with Fenix either rapid fire punching Omega in the head, or even hitting the Reverse Frankensteiner, to counter the move.
After a plethora of near falls and crazy moves, Fenix goes for a Triangle Springboard Corckscrew Headbutt, but Omega hits him with a mid air V-Trigger. Fenix can’t fight out of the concussion, Omega hits the One Winged Angel, and gets the pinfall victory.
Winner: Omega via One Winged Angel
Rating: **** 1/2
1. NOAH Global League: Naomichi Marufuji vs Kenoh
Kenoh is never one to withhold his opinion, since he is openly brash and fluent in cursing. This is important to know that Kenoh feels that Marufuji is still an obstacle he needs to get over. Besides the Super New Generation versus Old Guard storyline that’s been going on, there is really no love loss between these two. Will Kenoh’s shrieking pay off, or will NOAH’s Genius out smart the younger wrestler?
The match started off at a slower pace with both men trying to play a few mind games. We see a nice exchange with Marufuji using Kawada Kicks and Kenoh, who’s known for his kicking ability, screaming something and hitting back with Low Round Kicks to Marufuji’s hamstring. The match spills to the outside, where Marufuji takes the advantage and uses the guardrail masterfully. Driving Kenoh chest first into the rail four times before seating him next to the gate and then slamming it against his shoulder blade.
Kenoh wrestled from underneath for a long period, but he never lost the defiant sneer. Marufuji’s demeanor became increasingly more stern, almost like he was trying to prove a point to Kenoh. But the familiarity these two have really started to show in full when Marufuji countered a kick attempt simply by kicking Kenoh’s plant leg out from under him. Then we got the following beautiful exchange:
— Hisame (冰雨Pro-Wrestling Noah in English) (@Hi5ame) November 11, 2018
After this we saw both of them basically try to kill each other. Marufuji catches Kenoh right under the chin with the Ko-Oh, and looks like he might have dropped the young brash foul mouthed kohai. But Kenoh took a page out of Kenny Omega’s book where he hit a Snap Dragon Suplex out of nowhere, and even pulled off the Release Avalanche Dragon Suplex, which left Marufuji dazed. A penalty kick and Double Footstomp couldn’t put Marufuji away, so Kenoh digs into the play book and hits a Rolling Diving Stomp. Marufuji looks like his organs just exploded as Kenoh pins him for the win and 2 points.
Winner: Kenoh via Rolling Diving Stomp
Rating: **** 3/4
Kenoh versus Marufuji exudes psychology without even needing to know the history or language. Their body language explains what the match means to them, and the moves were crisp, stiff and all made sense. Even if the overall grades weren’t too far off, Omega versus Fenix was more of a spot fest that went too long, and Marufuji versus Kenoh was an actual wrestling match that told a story.
So there we go, yeah yeah, Japan bias whatever. Watch both matches and decide for yourself. No matter which you like better, all you have to do is, Always Use Your Head.