Images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service.
- Third Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: Kalisto VS Lince Dorado; Kalisto wins and advances to the second round.
- Fourth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: Hideo Itami VS Roderick Strong; Strong wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
205 Live and the Cruiserweights have entered a new phase!
We have our first-ever General Manager for the Cruiserweight Division, “Rockstar Spud” Drake Maverick!
With Spud at the wheel, the WWE Universe can expect the amazing action they’ve always wanted out of the superstars of 205 Live. And to start it off, the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament has begun! Only one man will be the new Cruiserweight Champion and crowned at Wrestlemania, and we already have two through the first round. Cedric Alexander defeated Gran Metalik, and TJP defeated Tyler Bate. Tonight, two more matches will see two more superstars move on to the second round!
Third Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: Kalisto VS Lince Dorado!
The King of Flight and Golden Lynx may be amigos in the #LuchaHouseParty, but they’ll put friendship aside if it means getting gold. Which luchador will score a win and move one step closer to the Grandest Stage of Them All?
The bell rings, the amigos shake hands to assure everyone this is going to be a respectful match. But then Lince holds on to let Kalisto know he’s going to treat him like any other opponent. The two circle, tie up and Lince gets the waistlock slam. Lince puts on the facelock, but Kalisto silps out to a wristlock. Kalisto arm-drags to a takedown but Lince hops right up. He flips Kalisto away then takes him down with a standing STO. Kalisto sits up, catches Lince’s kick and flips him away, both men stand up and stare down. The fans applaud, but then Lince rushes Kalisto. Kalisto arm-drags Lince, but then Lince arm-drags him back. Kalisto sweeps the legs, covers but Lince kicks out. Lince sweeps the legs and covers, Kalisto kicks out, double dropkicks and handsprings, the fans applaud this evenly matched match-up. Kalisto starts the “Lucha! Lucha!” chants, and the two circle again. Kalisto gets the waistlock to headlock but Lince powers out. Lince tosses Kalisto up but Kalisto narrowly balances on Lince’s shoulders!
Kalisto hops down, but Lince dropkicks him down. Lince runs at Kalisto in the corner but gets a back elbow. He tries again but Kalisto boots him down. Kalisto runs out but Lince manages to monkey flip him over. Lince gets up, Kalisto comes back with kicks. Kalisto whips but Lince reverses, swings but misses and Kalisto hits a tilt-o-whirl headscissors! Lince ends up outside, so Kalisto runs and DIVES!
Kalisto sends Lince into the announce table! The “Lucha! Lucha!” chants start up again while Drake Maverick watches from backstage.
Lince resists but Kalisto still gets him into the ring. Kalisto shoulders in then slingshots over but Lince sits on the sunset, TWO. SUPERKICK from Lince!
Kalisto is staggered, Lince throws him out to then build speed and DIVE!
A tope suicida senton topples Kalisto over! The fans applaud while the referee checks on both men. They’re both alright to continue, and fans already say “This is Awesome!” Lince gets up and gets Kalisto up for a stiff chop. He puts Kalisto in the ring, covers, ONE. Lince doesn’t slow down, he stomps and covers again, ONE. He puts Kalisto in a half clutch, saying he needs this win. The fans rally and Kalisto stands up, but Lince rocks him with a European Uppercut and throws him out. Lince hammers away, then stares at the Cruiserweight Championship belt. He puts Kalisto back in and jackknife covers, TWO! Lince returns to a chinlock, squeezing Kalisto. The fans build to a rally, Kalisto feeds off that energy to stand up. He fights out of the hold, then runs but into Lince’s slinger facebuster. Lince gets to a corner and climbs up. He takes aim, jumps but has to bail out when Kalisto rolls out of the way. Lince runs into Kalisto’s kick, then Kalisto climbs up. He reaches the top rope but Lince chops him. Lince climbs up but Kalisto fights back. Lince slows Kalisto down with headbutts, then stands up with him on the very top, for a SUPER STEINER!
Kalisto crashes down but Lince can’t make the cover right away. Both men are down while the fans applaud and the referee checks on them. Lince crawls to ropes and pulls himself up. He then crawls over to Kalisto just as Kalisto crawls over to him. The two friends brawl on their knees, then brawl on their feet. Lince chops Kalisto again and again, then runs into Kalisto’s enziguri. Kalisto fires off kicks, then runs to springboard for the corkscrew crossbody! He keeps going, mule kick and run for the spike-rana, but Lince counters into a seated cover! TWO! Lince staggers to a corner, Kalisto runs in but into a boot. Lince hops up, but Kalisto rocks him with a kick! Kalisto climbs up, Lince headbutts him a couple times, only for Kalisto to kick him again. Another try from Kalisto, SUPER Victory Roll Bomb!
TWO!! Both men are exhausted, but somehow still moving. The fans start up the “Lucha! Lucha!” and the two men feed off the energy. Kalisto is ready, waiting for Lince to turn around. Lince does, but he denies the Salida with a shove. Kalisto turns things around, roll for the Listo Kick, but Lince caught it! Lince drags Kalisto up, shouting that “I need this!” Kalisto enziguris but Lince ducks it, to handspring and hit the Golden Rewind stunner!
Lince doesn’t stop there, he gets to the top rope again. He aims, and hits the Shooting Star!
The impact was so strong, Lince bounced off! Kalisto rolls and escapes the ring. Lince pursues, and drags Kalisto up and in. Kalisto surprises him with a small package, TWO! Salida Del Sol outta nowhere!
Kalisto- no, ROPEBREAK!! Lince survives by mere seconds! Both men are exhausted but Kalisto forces himself over. Lince grabs ropes, then shoves Kalisto away. Kalisto returns, but Lince backslides, TWO. Kalisto runs, springboards back and hits a Poison-Rana!
THEN Salida Del Sol!! Kalisto wins in furious fashion! But because they’re still friends, they each raise the other’s hand in turn.
Spud is still watching, of course, and he likes what he sees. Can Kalisto go all the way to Wrestlemania to attempt becoming a two-time Cruiserweight Champion?
205 Live takes a look at Roderick Strong.
The Savior of the Backbreaker normally competes in NXT, but he’s being given a huge opportunity in this Cruiserweight Championship tournament. Strong endured rough times as his parents struggled with their inner demons. “Professional Wrestling saved my life.” Strong vows to give everything he has for as long as he has to, and will “risk it all” for victory. This isn’t just his journey, it’s his family’s. Can Strong do his family proud here tonight?
Cedric Alexander speaks.
The Carolina Kid won his first round match, and he’s one step closer to the championship. No one is going to stand in his way. However, Mustafa Ali surprises him from behind!
Ali warns Alexander to be careful or someone might sneak one on him. Ali takes his leave, saying there’s an 0-5-4 with Alexander’s name on it. Alexander counters that “it’s all fun and games until somebody’s lumbar gets checked.” He’ll be watching round one, but now he feels he’ll need to watch his back.
The “Cruiser-Great” reads the Tweets and comments about his controversial victory over Tyler Bate. He was holding the tights, which is why many in the WWE Universe posted things like “Great match, wrong guy.” TJP feels that “it really sucks to dedicate 20 years of your life to something just to get booed for succeeding at it.” Back in the Cruiserweight Classic, TJ Perkins “lived and died” on the idea that he was giving the fans someone to believe in. But now he must ignore the fact that the fans don’t. TJP did what he had to in order to win. This time, he’s not doing it for the fans, but for himself. Can the selfish former champion succeed by any means necessary and compete for the title at Wrestlemania?
205 Live takes a look at Mark Andrews.
The High-Fiving, Stage-Diving “Mandrews” is normally of the WWE United Kingdom Division, but he qualifies for the Cruiserweight Division so why not give him a chance? He helped put both UK and Wales on the map for professional wrestling back in the inaugural WWE UK Championship tournament. Next week, the fun-loving high-flyer gets a chance against former Cruiserweight Champion, Akira Tozawa. Can Andrews succeed as a crossover competitor for both himself and all of Wales?
Akira Tozawa speaks.
The Stamina Monster knows he faces Mark Andrews next week in this Cruiserweight Championship tournament. Andrews has talent, but he can’t beat Tozawa. To prove it, Tozawa asks a backstage worker who they think will win. “Mark Andre–” “Hey, hey, hey! You don’t know.” Tozawa promises to win, and then this guy, “You’re Fired!!” Tozawa then grins and swaggers away like once Vincent Kennedy McMahon might. Will the former champion’s confidence help him or cost him in this tournament?
Drake Maverick is visited in his office by Drew Gulak & Tony Nese.
The Cruiserweight Crusader and the Premier Athlete are both glad to meet with the GM, and know Spud wanted to talk with them about something. Is it perhaps about Gulak’s #Drewtopian plans for a #Better205Live? Something like that. By the way, thanks for the flowers. Spud asks Gulak, “What happened to you?” Gulak asks what he means by that. Spud explains that Gulak used to be “the most rugged grappler” on 205 Live. But Spud sees a Gulak who has PowerPoint presentations and picket signs. “When did you become such a goof?” Spud asks. Nese chuckles, but then Spud calls him out on it. Nese is the “most physically gifted athlete” here, but he wastes it on flexing and counting! “Congratulations, Tony, you have abs.” These two are the two most wasted members of the Cruiserweight Division, because while they have their own futures in their hands, all they do is resort to comedy acts. Spud says “that train” has left the station, 205 Live has changed. Therefore, the Cruiserweight Championship tournament’s first round will have Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak! The two PowerPoint pals look at each other with cold realization.
And now that it’s sunk in, Spud wants to know which one of them will step up. He dismisses them from his office and returns to his work. With only one week until they face off, what will Nese and Gulak do to get the edge over the other?
Fourth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round Match: Hideo Itami VS Roderick Strong!
The Innovator of the GTS was in NXT with the Savior of the Backbreaker not too long ago. Now Strong joins Itami in 205 Live for a chance at a championship. Itami declares 205 Live his home, and Strong doesn’t belong. Will Itami kick Strong out to ride down the road to Wrestlemania with respect?
The bell rings and the two circle. The fans are already chanting for “Roddy! Roddy!” as he and Itami tie up. Itami gets the waistlock but Strong the takedown. Itami catches Strong in the headscissor hold and Strong can’t pop out of it. Strong endures the squeeze then shifts up to slip out, and gets Itami into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow lock!
Itami endures the bend then pops out to a cover, ONE. The two back off and the fans applaud before they circle again. They tie up, push each other back, but Itami gets the wristlock control. Strong reverses to his own wristlock and brings Itami to the mat. Itami keeps his shoulders up, then headscissors Strong again, but this time Strong pops up with a kip-up. The two stare down again, and fans applaud. Each man dares the other to bring it, so they both tie up again. Strong gets the wristlock to an armbar, but Itami pushes and whips Strong to a corner. Strong goes up and over and catches Itami, but then Itami slips out of the half-nelson. Itami puts on a headlock and grinds Strong down, keeping hold even as Strong pushes. The fans rally for Strong, Strong gets to his feet and fights out with body shots and a shove. However, Itami runs Strong over and things speed up. Strong hurdles over Itami then holds ropes, and hits Itami with a big calf kick!
Cover, TWO, but Strong is not deterred. He brings Itami up for a stiff shop. Itami ends up in the corner, Strong chops him again. Strong backs off, then runs back in, but Itami puts him on the apron. Strong rocks Itami with a forearm, then goes around the corner. Itami sees him coming, and kicks him between the ropes a few times. Itami positions Strong right and hops up to the second rope, for a flying guillotine knee!
Strong goes down, clutching his head, and Itami covers. TWO, and Itami grows a bit frustrated. He brings Strong up and whips, bringing him down with a kitchen sink then lighting him up with a stiff kick to the back. Itami drops knees on Strong’s head, even bringing the knee pad down, for the jumping heel scrape. Itami poses to gloat, then stomps Strong in a corner. Strong reverses the corner-to-corner whip, but Itami boots him away. Itami hops up, goes for the tornado hotshot, but Strong blocks and adjusts for a shoulder gutbuster!
Cover, TWO! Strong keeps on Itami with stomps again and again. He drags Itami up, but Itami fights back. Strong chops Itami down, then bumps him on a buckle before ramming in shoulders to the torso. More chops, then Strong brings Itami out for the butterfly suplex, cover, TWO. Strong grabs Itami in a seated abdominal stretch, mirroring it to go after the repaired left shoulder. Fans rally for both men, Itami stands up and fights out. Strong knees low, then brings Itami up for a pumphandle backbreaker!
Cover, TWO, but Strong doesn’t lose focus. He grab Itami’s hands to help in a stomp into the mat. Strong dares “Kenta” to get up, toying with him even. The fans rally while Strong throws hands, Itami feeds off them. They brawl back and forth, Itami runs but into a big dropkick! Cover, TWO, now Strong feels some frustration. Strong keeps on Itami, bringing him up and back into a seated position. But instead of the abdominal stretch, Strong puts Itami’s legs in an Indian deathlock, and then a modified crossface.
Itami endures the bend and stretch while fans build to a rally. He pries his way out, then fights out with a jawbreaker. Strong runs in but misses in the corner, Itami counters into a DDT! Both men are down, but Itami crawls his way to a corner. Strong stands up and Itami runs out, Itami starts rallying. He kicks, then Fisherman suplexes Strong over, firing up! He boots Strong in the corner, then dumps him down to climb up to the top. Itami jumps for the flying clothesline! It connects, and Itami covers, TWO! Itami brings Strong up, gives him some strikes, but Strong counters to a fireman’s carry. Itami slips out and shoves Strong to ropes, which Strong grabs hold. Strong boots Itami back, then enziguris him before hitting an Olympic Slam!
Cover, TWO! Itami gets to the ropes while Strong stands up. Strong walks over and joins Itami on the apron. He brings Itami up, but Itami senses what he’s after so he grabs onto the ropes. Itami fights back with elbows to Strong’s head. The two start brawling on the apron edge, back and forth with chops and forearms. Strong gets the edge then takes a step back, but Itami boots him in the face! Itami goes to kick Strong again, but Strong catches the kick to yank him down. Strong wants the cradle backbreaker but Itami fights out. They brawl again, forearms and chops back and forth. Itami starts kicking, but Strong ducks one to pick Itami up and throw him into the apron edge!
Itami falls to the ground in a heap while Strong rests against the barrier. The referee checks on Itami, Itami is somehow okay to continue. Strong puts Itami in the ring, covers, TWO! Strong catches his breath before standing up. He drags Itami up to his feet, preparing something with the facelock. Itami resists, Strong clubs away, but Itami still resists. Strong chops him, then tries again, but it’s Itami who hits a Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO! Both men get up, and fans know “This is Awesome!” Itami runs into Strong and hits him with a hip attack against the ropes. Itami keeps going, but Strong catches the shotgun knees! Strong puts Itami down and goes for the Strong Hold! Itami crawls for the ropes, but Strong keeps him away. Itami gets a leg free and kicks Strong again and again until he lets go. Strong staggers but comes back, he and Itami brawl with forearms again. Strong gives a stiff trio of elbows, but then Itami counters into an armbar takedown. Itami floats over into a modified Rings of Saturn!
Strong endures, and drags himself with his legs! He reaches with his feet, and gets the ropebreak! Itami lets go, but neither man is giving up just yet. Itami starts kicking, then runs to try again, shotgun knees hit! TWO! The fans fire up as Itami calls for the end, but Strong reverses out of the dragon sleeper hold to a fireman’s carry. Itami slips out, but Strong rocks him with a back elbow. Itami boots Strong, then runs but into Strong’s POP-UP gutbuster!
Then in the corner, big shining wizard, and the Cloud Nine facebuster! TWO! Strong can’t believe it, but he won’t stop here. The fans repeat that “This is Awesome!” while Strong lifts Itami up to the top rope. Strong climbs up with him, for another fireman’s carry, but Itami fights out again. Itami rocks Strong with a big kick, then climbs back up to be the one in control. He tries but Strong resists the superplex. Itami headbutts away on Strong, then adjusts for a SUPER FALCON ARROW!
Cover, TWO!! Itami is shocked! Both men are down while the fans cheer Strong on. Strong and Itami flounder but stand back up to brawl again with haymakers. They shift to forearms, but then Itami swings a big right to rock Strong! He back hands but Strong ducks, to then dodge Strong’s jumping knee. Itami catches strong with the backhand, then goes corner to corner for the skateboard dropkick! He fires up, and calls for the end again, but Strong again reverses to hit the jumping knee! Itami staggers, and into Strong’s End of Heartache!!
Strong WINS!! The Strongest Workhorse actually wins to move on in this Cruiserweight Championship tournament! Can Strong keep going to grab a Wrestlemania Moment for himself?
What an incredible episode! There was great character work in just about every part from start to finish, especially with Rockstar Spud. I know I said I enjoyed Gulak’s politician gimmick, but I also like Spud calling him out for how it softened his in-ring presence. Instead of being both a funny character and a tough competitor, Spud points out how #Drewtopia actually weakened Gulak while also pointing out Nese is essentially jobber to the stars. If Spud getting on their cases helps revitalize one of them into a more serious serious competitor, I’m all for it. Especially in a match against each other, as WWE as of just tonight has shown how good friends facing each other brings out the best in both. Lince VS Kalisto was such a match, and there was great story there that while Kalisto wants to be champion again, Lince wants to be champion for the first time at all. It really helped up the physicality of the match, and it really got me invested in wanting Lince to win. However, Kalisto wins, perhaps because he is the more experienced in the “WWE style” and pace. Hopefully this means that while Kalisto aims for singles gold, there will be some way of getting Lince and Gran Metalik to represent #LuchaHouseParty in the Raw Tag Team Division. (Probably not, though)
Great character promos from Alexander/Ali, TJP and Tozawa to frame how each of them feels about the tournament. Tozawa being a sort of Cruiserweight Vince McMahon is becoming a fun little theme for his promos, but I’m thinking it’s best left as just that. We don’t need there to suddenly be a Japanese Vince running around trying to boss people around. Then in the main event, there wasn’t exactly character work, but that wasn’t really needed as Strong VS Itami was excellent on their in-ring skills alone. I knew this match-up would be hard hitting, and it did not disappoint. And best of all, it surprised me by having Strong go over! Strong, despite still being part of NXT, wins this opening round as a major sign that we should expect the unexpected on the “main roster” for once. I hope Strong at least makes it to the semi-finals to give one hell of a match against Cedric Alexander or TJP, who are still my two choices for the Wrestlemania match.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Results & Report! (1/21/19)
Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey, defends her title at the Royal Rumble, but she first tests the waters against Sasha Banks in tag team action!
- Finn Balor VS Braun Strowman; Finn wins, by disqualification.
- Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush VS Apollo Crews; Lashley wins.
- Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre; Rollins wins.
- Six Man Tag: Lucha House Party VS Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers; Lucha House Party wins.
- Elias VS Baron Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Heavy Machinery VS The Ascension; Heavy Machinery wins.
- Raw Tag Team Championships, Special Referee: Curt Hawkins; Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival; Roode & Gable win and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
- Ronda Rousey & Natalya VS Sasha Banks & Bayley; win.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE honors Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream.
WWE has a 10 bell salute for this great man and his fight for “love and justice between fellow human beings.” #LongLivetheDream
The Beast returns to Raw!
The Royal Rumble approaches, and that means a WWE Universal Championship match comes with it! Paul Heyman has a mic and while fans boo and jeer, he again introduces himself as The Advocate for “the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, BROCK LESNAR!!” And to get down to business: on last week’s Raw, in front of a global television audience, Finn Balor pinned John Cena. It was not a fluke, it was not controversial, it was simply Finn Balor stepping up and seizing the moment. “So much so” that John Cena took to the mic to say he believes in Finn. Cena should, because the WWE Universe has declared “We Believe in Finn!” And the WWE Universe should, because even Paul Heyman believes in Finn!
Heyman gives Finn credit where credit is due, because even Finn believes in Phoenix, he will do the very same thing he’s always done: capitalizing on fate and opportunity. And not just in any match, but a title match. Not just any title match, but a Universal Championship match. And not just against any Universal Champion, but against Brock Lesnar, who trained to prepare for Braun Strowman. Lesnar wont’ defend against the temperamental Monster Among Men but against a man with a completely different style. And that is why Finn believes in Finn, and why Heyman believes Finn believes in Finn. And that’s why when Finn says this himself, you should listen to him, for he is the voice that matters.
However, Heyman’s is the voice that martyrs. At the Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar will make Finn into that martyr, “sacrificed for the sin of making you believe he can conquer the unconquerable”! Sacrificed for believing Finn can take what Lesnar’s got! Sacrificed for thinking Finn is a “Slim Reaper” who will slay The Beast. But here comes that spoiler alert for Raw and the Rumble: “Even miracles fear Brock Lesnar.” Sunday, Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona, THE Royal Rumble PPV, Brock Lesnar will put to bed the “ridiculous notion” that Finn Balor even belongs in the same ring, with Finn looking up from the mat saying “Oh my God, I believe in Brock Lesnar.” But wait, that’s Vince McMahon! And The Chairman heads straight for the ring!
Vince takes up a mic and with fans cheering him, he tells Heyman that he’s actually going easy on Finn. That was some old school promoter style drumming up of business. Heyman saying FInn stands no chance against Lesnar is rather passe. Now you should try David and Goliath. One day, David went out, ate all the mushrooms, and thought he could take on a big nasty giant. He did, and Goliath beat the hell out of David, until he was reincarnated as Finn. What? Vince says Finn earned his opportunity, and both men have their fans, but even in “Hillbilly Land” Oklahoma City, the fans know- What’s wrong? He’s speaking too fast. Well if any fans actually believe Finn will win, then you all believe in fairy tales. But this is no fairy tale, this is BRAUN!!
The Monster Among Men may not get Lesnar at the Rumble, but he wants Lesnar now! Vince asks Strowman what the hell he thinks he’s doing out here, but Strowman and Lesnar are too busy staring down. Fans chant “Get These Hands!” while Lesnar grins and gives Strowman space to enter. Strowman has his own mic and says “Last Monday was the worst night of my life, thanks to Baron Corbin.” $100,000 and a title match down the drain. But that was also the luckiest night of Lesnar’s life. If Lesnar still has the title after Sunday, Strowman will be waiting on the other side to rip Lesnar up like that limousine! Vince warns Strowman, he’s lucky to still have a job. But here comes Finn Balor! The Extraordinary Man smiles but so does Lesnar as Finn joins everyone in the ring.
Finn says “Same old Monday Night Raw.” Braun doing Braun things, while Finn’s the guy who beat three other men, including the GOAT, John Cena. Heyman says he’s the second greatest, behind Lesnar. Well Finn still earned his opportunity against Lesnar. As for Vince, he may not believe in Finn, because he doesn’t leave in fairy tales, but Finn does. And Balor Club believes. And at the Royal Rumble, Finn will take back his Universal Championship! Strowman says he definitely could’ve beat Lesanr, and has no idea if Finn could, but he better. Finn appreciates the support, but keep your nose out of his business because he’ll do what Strowman hasn’t. Lesnar laughs as he wants to leave but Vince says Lesnar should stick around for this.
Finn tells Vince has the story backwards. David stood up to Goliath and everyone laughed at him. But they didn’t know who David was, and what he was made of. Goliath fell face down in the dirt, BOOM. And no one was laughing after that. Vince has an idea: Lesnar should be ringside to watch this real-life David VS Goliath! Finn VS Strowman, even Vince will stick around for this! Will Finn prove the story true? Or will Strowman prove he should still be the man to face The Beast?
Finn Balor VS Braun Strowman!
Raw returns and Finn jawbreakers free of Strowman’s grip! Strowman knees low but runs into a dropkick! He stays standing and runs at Finn in the corner. Finn dodges and kicks him back! Lesnar laughs and Strowman gets distracted. Finn SLAPS Strowman, and that only angers Strowman! Finn goes for the legs but gets clubbed down. Strowman drags Finn up but Fin n lips free. Finn boots Strowman but his slingblade is denied! Strowman clubs Finn down again! Strowman kicks Finn out of the ring but fans rally up for Finn. Finn drags himself up but Strowman runs out to run him over! Even Lesnar was impressed by that.
Strowman drags Finn back into the ring, then stalks Finn to a corner. He squashes Finn with a splash then hauls Finn up. Finn slips out and gets to a corner but gets another splash! Cover, TWO! Finn lives but Strowman keeps his cool. Strowman clamps on a nerve hold and Finn endures the grip on his shoulder. Fans rally and Finn stands, only to be headbutt out of the ring. Strowman goes for another lap, but Finn slingblades him! Lesnar is now impressed by that. Finn hurries back in the ring and the ring count begins. Fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” as the count rises to 5. Strowman stands and shakes it off to enter at 7, but Finn dodges in the corner.
Finn comes back with forearms, but Strowman only staggers. Finn keeps trying but Strowman grabs him! Strowman scoops but Finn slips into a sleeper hold! Finn holds on tight but Strowman backs him into buckles. But Finn hops back on! Strowman drops to a knee, but pries Finn’s arms away! Finn drives elbows in fast and furious! Fans fire up as Strowman falls back, Finn double stomps! Finn fires up and climbs. He makes sure Lesnar is watching, but Strowman grabs Finn to throw him at Lesnar! For Lesnar to throw overhead! Finn just took a quick visit to Suplex City, then he gets in the ring with Strowman. The match-up we were meant to get might go down here, but Finn trips Lesnar to dropkick him into a post!
Finn gets back in the ring with Strowman, builds up speed and FLIES onto Lesnar! Lesnar’s down but Finn has Strowman still chasing him. They go around and into the ring, and Finn throws hands. Finn runs, slingblade again! Finn dropkicks Lesnar out of the ring, then goes out to dropkick him into barriers! Fans are thunderous for Finn as he grits his teeth. But Strowman grabs Finn by his head and hauls him right up! Strowman hip tosses Finn in, but misses in the corner to hit post! Finn runs back at him for a shotgun dropkick! Strowman’s down, Finn climbs up and fans fire up with him. COUP DE GRACE! But Lesnar attacks! F5!!
Winner: Finn Balor, by disqualification
Finn wins here but not the way he wanted. The Beast is mad, but will he just be the Goliath to Finn’s David?
Bobby Lashley & Lio Rush head to the ring!
The Rocky Mountain Machine is the NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion, and both Men of the Hour had a part in making it happen. Lio Rush praises Bobby Lashley as being better than both Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Lashley is also better than everyone else in the locker room. Lio and Lashley aren’t issuing an open challenge, open challenges are for kids. Lashley is a professional fighter. A fighter! They don’t do this for fun, but for the money. They are here to celebrate, and what better way than for Lashley to stand on a podium and show off his physique? Lashley stands on the podium while Lio puts the title on Lashley’s waist so everyone can see why Lashley IS The All Mighty! Hit the lights!
Lashley stands in the spotlight as Lio straps the belt on him. Lashley flexes but Apollo Crews comes out! Apollo joins Lio and Lashley in the ring with his own mic. He congratulates Lashley on becoming the new champion. There’s no doubt that Lashley is a stud, just look at him. But let’s be real: no one paid money to see Lashley pose. They paid money to see Lashley compete. Now Apollo knows this isn’t going to be a title match, but how about they lock up? Lio says Apollo is not in Lashley’s league! But hey, maybe if Apollo wins in a pose off, he’ll get a match. Pose off? What? Apollo doesn’t know how to do that. Well judging from his track record, he doesn’t know how to be champion, either!
Lashley stands on the podium again, the spotlight hits, and we get the double guns! Apollo mocks the flexing as he gives a little pop-lock action! And some Hulkster and Savage. Lashley takes another turn for the side chest. Only Lio is impressed. Apollo takes another turn, and winds it up for his own side pose! Fans like Apollo way better. Lashley takes one more turn, for his Most Muscular! Lio thinks Lashley has won this, but Apollo gets his final turn, for a spin and flex. And Lashley attacks! Lashley whips Apollo but Apollo throws Lashley out instead! And then Lio gets caught, for a trophy lift toss at Lashley! Apollo flexes and Lashley is furious! Will Apollo get his match after all?
Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush VS Apollo Crews!
Raw returns, and yes he does! But Lashley also has Apollo in a bearhug. Apollo endures the squeeze and fights out with haymakers. He runs but Lashley follows, to get Apollo with a complete shot! Cover, TWO! Lashley keeps his cool and drags Apollo up into a corner. He throws hands and whips corner to corner. Lashley rams his shoulder in, then hauls Apollo up top. Apollo kicks Lashley away to then missile dropkick him down! Both men slowly stir and stand, and Apollo mule kicks and boots. Lashley swings but misses while Apollo hits a leaping lariat! Apollo kips up and fans fire up with him. Apollo climbs up and aims, but Lashley gets under. Lashley runs but Apollo leaps over! Roll up, TWO!
Apollo raises the roof because he raises Lashley in a trophy lift! Apollo drops Lashley but it took a lot out of him, too. He manages to stand first, though, and drags Lashley up. Apollo tries again, and gets a proper drop. Lio protests and distracts, so that Lashley has time to avoid Apollo’s moonsault. Apollo dodges to enziguri Lashley down, but Lio distracts again. Apollo tosses Lio in but Lio runs around and dodges. But Lio gets caught into another trophy lift, only for Lashley to SPEAR Apollo! Cover, Lashley wins!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by pinfall
The 24 Year Old Piece of Gold pays dividends again as he helps Lashley leave Apollo down and out. But they don’t get time to celebrate this win, because here comes Seth Rollins! Oklahoma City is ready to #BurnItDown, but The Architect isn’t here for Lashley. Rollins has a match with Drew McIntyre, and wants that match next. Will Rollins gain some major momentum going into THE Royal Rumble match?
Seth Rollins VS Drew McIntyre!
Raw returns as Rollins takes up the mic. “Today we celebrate the life and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” Even now, perhaps especially now, we can learn a lot from him. MLK once said a measure of a man is not where he stands in times of convenience, but in times of challenge and controversy. Rollins feels like he’s in times of challenges and controversy. He had two titles and two brothers, but now he’s got none of either. But life isn’t about what we don’t have, it’s about what we do have. What Rollins has is what he’s always had, and it’s the business. As long as Rollins has the ring, the fans and the fire, he’ll win the Royal Rumble! Even saying it out loud makes it sound like a crazy long shot, but Rollins has always been about long shots.
Rollins knows he’s not huge or powerful, but he’s from a small town much like Oklahoma City. His parents were working class, he could’ve been working in a factory, on a farm or driving a truck himself. But the reason he’s not is because of this feeling. Love, passion, determination, whatever it is isn’t just in his chest but ingrained in his soul! Long shot, sure. Thirty men putting it all on the line to headline Wrestlemania. But Rollins promises to be one man left standing and going to Wrestlemania, and that is THE MAN, “Seth Freakin’ Rollins!” But now, the Scottish Terminator makes his entrance.
McIntyre tells Rollins that he’s going to kick his head off tonight, but he must also offer a rebuttal. McIntyre does not stand idly by as Rollins lies to the fans! Rollins is not winning the Rumble, and it’s just Rollins’ style. His reckless abandon will get him eliminated. But what would happen if Rollins harnessed that same passion into the body of a Terminator? That’s “Drew Freakin’ McIntyre!” This means everything to Rollins, so McIntyre hopes they’re the final two, because McIntyre wants to see the look in Rollins’ eyes when he’s thrown out and hears the announcement that the winner is Drew McIntyre! Fire fights fire, after the break!
Raw returns as McIntyre runs back into the ring, only for Rollins to clothesline him back out. Rollins then builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit floors McIntyre, but Rollins puts him back in quick. Rollins springboards and hits a flying clothesline! Cover, ONE! Rollins keeps his cool as he CHOPS McIntyre at the ropes. He whips but McIntyre reverses, only for Rollins to kick him away. Rollins elbows McIntyre, then puts him out all the way tot he floor. McIntyre clutches his back while Rollins assesses the situation. Rollins climbs up high, aims from the post, and leaps! But McIntyre sends him into barriers! McIntyre wraps Rollins around the post and pulls back! He lets up at 4 to then cover Rollins, TWO!
McIntyre keeps on Rollins with an armlock, but fans rally up. Rollins feeds off the energy but McIntyre throws him down by his hair. McIntyre returns to the armlock and adds a chinbar. Fans continue to rally and Rollins powers up again. Rollins jawbreakers free! Rollins runs but into a big elbow from McIntyre! Cover, TWO! McIntyre stalks Rollins and drags him up for a CHOP of his own! McIntyre stomps away on Rollins while fans cheer Rollins on. Rollins throws haymakers and whips, but McIntyre reverses hard! Rollins tumbles up then down, McIntyre covers, TWO! McIntyre stomps Rollins more, then chops Rollins to a corner before tossing him overhead! Cover, TWO! McIntyre turns to the armlock to keep Rollins down.
Fans continue to rally for Rollins and Rollins fights up again. Rollins whips but McIntyre reverses, then kicks Rollins out of the air! Rollins rolls out but McIntyre pursues. McIntyre chops Rollins then drags him up for the Inverted Alabama Slam to the floor! The Terminator dominates and smirks while we go to break.
Raw returns again and both men slowly stand as fans declare “This is Awesome!” Both men start chopping away, but then Rollins runs and dodges to slingblade! He boots McIntyre out of the corner and hits a blockbuster! Cover, TWO! Rollins grits his teeth while fans fire up again. He goes back to McIntyre for a powerbomb but McIntyre back drops. Rollins sunset flips, TWO! McIntyre flips Rollins around for his own powerbomb lift, but Rollins huricanranas! Cover, TWO! Rollins runs, tilt-o-whirl to Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO!! McIntyre survives but Rollins keeps his focus. Rollins gets to the ropes to stomp, “Burn It Down!” Fans chant and Rollins mule kicks. Rollins runs but misses the stomp! McIntyre clubs and scoops but Rollins lands on his feet to shove McIntyre into buckles!
Rollins puts McIntyre up top backwards, but McIntyre elbows him away. Rollins hops up to swing kick McIntyre into the Tree of Woe! He climbs but McIntyre sit sup for a suplex! But Rollins gets back up and runs in, only to miss! McIntyre gets up and runs, but into a SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!! McIntyre lives but both he and Rollins are down. OKC again says “This is Awesome!” as they both stand. Rollins and McIntyre brawl and chop and forearm back and forth. Rollins gets an edge but walks into the Glasgow Kiss! McIntyre is too dazed to cover, but he gets himself back up. McIntyre drags Rollins up for a fireman’s carry, and then climbs a corner. He prepares Rollins, for a SUPER Celtic Cross! Cover, TWO!! But right into a sit-out bomb!! Cover, TWO!? Rollins shocks McIntyre and OKC!
McIntyre crawls over to Rollins and drags him up again. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” but this has to end. McIntyre swings Rollins but Rollins rolls him up, Rollins wins!!
Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall
The Architect survives to surprise the Terminator! Can Rollins surprise everyone by keeping his word of winning the Men’s Royal Rumble match?
The Revival plead their case to Vince McMahon.
First there was the pin on the wrong man, and then there was the missed ropebreak, they are feeling robbed! Vince wants to know what they’re after. The Revival wants one last chance at the titles, with a very special guest referee. Someone who has 20/20 vision and is going to call it right down the middle. But then Curt Hawkins comes by and wants one more shot to break his own Streak. Maybe Hawkins should be the Revival’s referee. Well Hawkins does know three counts. Vince makes the deal, and The Revival make nice with Hawkins. Will the History Factory be the man to help The Revival get justice?
Dean Ambrose speaks.
“Earlier tonight, a certain Architect quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” It was cute, made Ambrose tear up, but another quote from MLK is that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. And it is an injustice that Ambrose is not Intercontinental Champion right now. Rollins and “Bend Over’ Bobby, he’s coming for you both at the Royal Rumble. He’ll chop them in the throat and kick them in the balls, and then dump them both out of the ring. 2018 was not Ambrose’s year, after he spent half of it in the hospital. He owes it to himself to win this year’s Rumble, it will be his Miracle on Ice. Ambrose vows to own the Road to Wrestlemania, and justice will be served. Will the Moral Compass redirect Raw down the right path? Or just down his path?
Six Man Tag: Lucha House Party VS Jinder Mahal & The Singh Brothers!
Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado have had a lot of fun since forming, and it’s even led Kalisto to the Cruiserweight Championship this Sunday. But there’s no room for fun with The Modern Day Maharaja and his Bollywood Boys. Which trio will make big inroads towards titles on their own Road to Wrestlemania?
Mahal starts against the Golden Lynx, but Lince has to worry about Samir & Sunil. Mahal puts Lince in a corner but backs off at 4. He swings but Lince dodges to kick away. Mahal pushes and scoops Lince to slam him down! He wraps Lince in a chinlock and the Singhs want in. Mahal tags Samir and they mug Lince. Samir gets an atomic drop and dropkick from Lince but tags in brother Sunil. Sunil runs but into a big back drop! Lince CHOPS Sunil then tags Kalisto. Kalisto gets help for an elevated splash, Lince adds the planking! Cover, ONE! Kalisto keeps on Sunil with a CHOP, then an acrobatic arm-drag! Sunil runs but into another arm-drag. Sunil grabs Kailsto’s mask to whip Kalisto hard out of the ring, then tags Mahal.
Mahal drags Kalisto into the ring, covers, ONE! Mahal keeps on Kalisto with a rough chinlock, but fans “Lucha! Lucha!” Tag to Sunil and he wraps on a headlock. Kalisto endures as Sunil leans on him. Kalisto powers out but gets caught short of his corner. Sunil hits Lince, Kalisto hits a heel kick! Both men are down and crawling, hot tag to Gran Metalik! The King of the Ropes springboards to crossbody, then springboards to triangle dropkick Samir and Mahal! Metalik handsprings but Sunil dodges, only to run into a scoop backbreaker! Cover, Lucha House Party wins!
Winner: Lucha House Party, Gran Metalik by pinfall
Mahal is furious but the fiesta is rolling in Oklahoma City! Will this victory help the luchadores head for tag titles? And what of Kalisto’s own title match at the Royal Rumble?
Dana Brooke is impressed by EC3’s Top One Percent physique.
She asks him fitness and match preparation tips, but The Drifter passes by. EC3 does his best to explain his “alone time” to Dana, but we’re getting Elias next!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
Oklahoma City is glad to see him and hear his guitar playing. “Brothers and sisters, 2019 is going to be an incredible year.” Elias will win the Royal Rumble but there will be more rivers to cross and mountains to climb. No matter how far he goes, there will always be a truth that brings him back: that WWE stands for “Walk With Elias!” OKC knows that. As for tonight, Elias has a song that might be his finest work yet. Elias sets to playing but Baron Corbin walks out to interrupt. Fans boo the Lone Wolf but he tells them to shut up, too. Corbin tells Elias that he ratted Strowman out and almost got Corbin killed. Fans like that, though. Corbin realizes Vince is right that OKC is a bunch of hillbillies. But Corbin is going to put Elias in his place!
Elias doesn’t know what world Corbin is living in, but he’s not the Raw GM. So Elias is gonna sing that song after all. Corbin keeps talking over Elias, but Elias has Corbin’s mic cut. Elias likes that. He’s skipping his Rumble song to sing a new one. “Baron interrupts my performance. Will this ever end? Baron against Elias, do we really need to see that again?” At the Royal Rumble, Corbin stands no chance, Elias sees it clear. So Corbin needs to shut his mouth, so that he can hear: Nobody cares, people are tired. Why does Corbin still wear that stupid vest? Remember, he got fired! Fans remind Corbin that, “You Got Fired!” But Corbin rushes Elias! Only to narrowly avoid the guitar shot! Elias and Corbin will throw down again, who gets the last word before the Rumble?
Elias VS Baron Corbin!
Raw returns and Elias goes Old School but for an arm-drag! Corbin bails out but Elias wrecks him with a dropkick! Fans fire up with Elias as Elias rams Corbin into barriers. Corbin retreats to the ring but Elias is on him on the apron. They brawl, Elias blocks a kick but gets pushed into the post! Elias goes down in a heap and Corbin acts like he’s already won something. Corbin drags Elias back up and throws him face first into the post. He puts Elias in the corner, then rains down rights. Fans rally up for Elias while taunting Corbin with “You Got Fired!” Corbin tunes the fans out but Elias hits back with body shots. Elias whips but Corbin slides out then in to lariat! Cover, TWO! Corbin grows frustrated, but trash talks the fans first.
Corbin throws Elias out but Elias stays on the apron. Elias hits back, then shoulders in, then jumps over Corbin’s slide. Corbin comes back in but into a leaping knee! Inverted swinging neckbreaker, TWO! Elias grows frustrated but he stomps away on Corbin. The referee backs him off, but Elias comes back to whip. Corbin holds the ropes and the ref backs Elias off again, only for Corbin to rock Elias with a right! End of Days! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The fans don’t like it, but Corbin did win. Corbin rolls on towards the Rumble, will he be the End of Days for 29 other superstars?
It’s time for another Moment of Bliss!
The Goddess appears on her set and takes a seat before picking up her custom mic. Alexa welcomes the fans back to her show, and notes that Sunday will have the Women’s Rumble match for a chance to main event Wrestlemania. As such, this Royal Rumble edition will present just some of the 30 participants for that match. Obviously there will be Carmella, who won the right to be Ms. 30, but there are also the IIconics, the Riott Squad, the Samoan Dynasty, Ember Moon, Zelina Vega, Nikki Cross, Alicia Fox, Bayley and Charlotte Flair. As for Alexa’s guest, her best friend and worst enemy, and perhaps the odds on favorite for the Rumble, Nia Jax! The Irresistible Force is all smiles as she joins Alexa on set.
Alexa cuts to the chase. Nia winning means choosing either champion to face at Wrestlemania. Which brand would Nia choose? But before she can give a proper answer, Ember Moon appears! The Goddess did not invite the War Goddess here. Ember snatches Nia’s mic and Nia tosses a chair over. But Ember says she got tired of waiting for an invitation that would never come. She is making her mark, and vows to win the Women’s Rumble. But the Captain, Alicia Fox, comes out. She snatches the mic and tells everyone that as Captain of the Women’s Division, she’s setting a course for Wrestlemania. It starts by going through the other 29 women this Sunday. But then Mickie James appears! She thinks it’s “super cute” they’re all arguing, but Mickie stole the show at Mania once, and looks to do it again.
The four women argue, but out come The Riott Squad! Alexa wants a little bit of control on her own show. She gets up on her chair to shout for them all to stop. This is HER show, okay!? Hers! If this becomes some kind of brawl, they’re all embarrassing themselves as catty women, but also they’re ruining this show’s reputation! Everyone hears Alexa out, until Nia starts trouble with a shove! The women all brawl, and Nikki Cross is even in the mix without being an official member of Raw! Referees hurry to get them tot he back, but that only puts the brawl into the gorilla position! Nikki throws Ruby around while Ember tackles Nia into the curtains! Alexa is at a loss for words. The only thing she can say is that the entrants this year are very passionate.
But this Moment of Bliss will be one we won’t ever forget: because Alexa is officially back in action in the Women’s Rumble! But wait, it’s Lacey Evans! The Lady of NXT turned the Model Soldier says “What a bunch of nasty, classless little girls” she just saw. Luckily for the WWE Universe, the winner of this year’s Women’s Rumble will not be some sawed off girly little runt, i.e Alexa. It will be Lacey, a “classy, sophisticated lady.” Lacey leaves Alexa speechless even more than that brawl. But has she only incurred the wrath of the Goddess?
Titus O’Neil speaks.
Many think him winning the Royal Rumble will be nothing short of a miracle, but luckily he believes in miracles. And that is why Titus enters the Rumble- Hey, who is that interrupting his shot? Just walking in and then out? Well excuse you! But will Titus Worldwide~ be the one to head to Wrestlemania?
Heavy Machinery VS The Ascension!
Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic are COMIIIN’ to the main roster, but before choosing a side, the #BlueCollarSolid boys will show the WWE Universe what the power of #SteaksandWeights can do! Is it enough to avoid the Wasteland against Konnor & Viktor?
The teams sort out and we start with “Dozer” and Viktor. They tie up, and Dozer powers Viktor to a corner. The ref backs them off but Viktor shoves Dozer. Dozer comes back but Viktor throws hands. Viktor bumps Dozer on buckles but Dozer fires up. Viktor dodges but Dozer throws him off to then scoop, spin, spin, spin some more, and then slam Viktor! Tag to Tucker, and they give us some BOOM SHAKA LOO double falling headbutts! Viktor flounders but boots Tucker away. Viktor chops away then whips corner to corner, but Tucker goes up and over to crossbody! Tag to Dozer, and Heavy Machinery march around. They double belly bump Viktor, then Konnor runs into double shoulders!
Dozer does the kick pump, into the elbow drop! Dozer squashes Viktor in a corner, then fans fire up. Otis pumps up and gives us the Caterpillar! Tag to Tucker, and Viktor gets the Compactor! Cover, Heavy Machinery wins!
Winners: Heavy machinery, Tucker Knight pinning
HASHAAA! Tucker & Dozer win their debut, but this is only the beginning! Will Heavy Machinery steamroll the Tag Team Division right out of the gates?
Raw Tag Team Championships, Special Referee: Curt Hawkins; Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival!
The #TopGuys are convinced that it’s somewhere between a conspiracy and utter incompetence, but for whatever reason, the other referees on Raw haven’t given them a fair match finish. But now they’ll put Mr. Losing Streak in the stripes to see if they can’t get the justice they deserve. Will Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson finally get those titles? Or will the champions continue to be Absolutely… GLORIOUS?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the teams sort out. Dash starts against Gable and ties up. Dash wrenches the wrist but Gable rolls and bridges through. Gable gets a headlock, armlock then drop toehold fast! He has the arm then tags Roode. Hawkins is very strict about the tag, insisting that Roode needed to hold the tag string. The tag does not count, and Dash gets away with throwing Gable down by his hair. Dash calls Hawkins over to officially tag with Dawson. Dawson bumps Gable off buckles then throws chops and forearms. Dawson throws European Uppercuts and Gable bails out. Gable fights back but Dawson whips him for a hard hitting EuroUpper! Dawson rocks Roode, which Hawkins reprimands him for, but The Revival double whip Roode. Roode dodges and then baits The Revival into Gable’s clotheslines!
Roode and Gable throw both Revivals with exploders! Gable builds speed and Roode helps him FLY onto Dash! But Dawson runs Gable over! Hawkins works to regain order while we go to break.
Raw returns and Dawson reels Gable in, but Gable reverses to a big back suplex! Both men are down but fans fire up as they crawl. Hot tag to Dash, and Dash stops Gaable. He scoops but Gable slips out to tag Roode! Roode rallies on Dash and hits a back drop! Dawson flies in but into an urenage! Roode fires up as he runs in at Dash, for a big shoulder tackle. Roode hops up, takes aim, but Dash dodges. So Roode clotheslines Dawson out before giving Dash a spinebuster! Fans fire up more as Roode goes after Dash on the apron. Roode suplexes but Dash makes it a crossbody! Cover and Dawson holds Roode’s feet down! But Hawkins sees that! He’s being a fair referee by reprimanding Dawson for that.
Roode gets Dash but Dash reverses and scoops. Roode slips out and rolls up, TWO! Dawson with a cheap shot that Hawkins doesn’t see! Dash rolls Roode, but puts his feet on the ropes and Hawkins catches him! Hawkins reprimands the Revival for this, so Dash tags Dawson. The Revival double whip but Gable tags in. Roode kicks Dawson but Dash clotheslines him out. Gable flies but Dawson rolls through! He’s holding the tights! Hawkins sees that again, so Dawson gives up. Dawson throws Gable out, then starts shoving Hawkins. Hawkins reminds him who the ref is, and Dawson runs into Gable’s shoulder. Gable sunset flips but Dash keeps him from falling over! Hawkins breaks that up, Gable gets his sunset flip, Gable & Roode win!
Winners: Chad Gable & Bobby Roode, Gable pinning; still Raw Tag Team Champions
The plan backfires! The Revival tried to cheat to win but Hawkins would not let them get away with any of it. Dash & Dawson try to reason with Hawkins, but they end up beating him down instead! But here comes Zack Ryder! The Broski fights the #TopGuys off, protecting his former Edgehead bro. Is this a save for old time’s sake? Or are we seeing a reunion in the making?
Backstage interview with Ronda Rousey.
The Baddest Woman has a tag team match up next, what would she say to challenger, Sasha Banks? Ronda wants to focus on her match tonight, but she’s trying to figure out why she should apologize. And she’s concluded that she doesn’t owe Sasha a damn thing! Ronda took her moment to hype up Sasha, and then Sasha goes and turns it all into an insult? What does Sasha expect from Ronda? Ronda’s been respectful since day one. Is she supposed to wash Sasha’s feet? Ronda practically had to beg Sasha to have this match! Sasha is too busy living the Boss life than actually try to be a champion! Sasha’s so high on herself that she’s not hungry anymore! That’s the difference between them, and Ronda will show that even The Legit Boss answers to someone!
Ronda Rousey & Natalya VS Sasha Banks & Bayley!
Ronda is definitely rowdy tonight, and she joins forces with her pal, The Queen of Harts, to face the #LegitHuggable best friends! Will the Baddest Woman build some last momentum before going 1v1 with Sasha at the Rumble? Or will tonight be #BossTime rolling into the title match?
(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.19 ~ 19TH JANUARY 2019
Hisame dropping the NOAH knowledge bombs every week! If you’re behind, just curious, or a frequent admirer of the Emerald ways, these Newsletters keep getting better and better.
CURRENT TOUR RECAP
On the 13th January, Yoshinari Ogawa and HAYATA shook hands, and then briefly patted each other on the back for a quick hug. So far nothing more has come of this, HAYATA hasn’t turned against RATELS, and Yoshinari Ogawa is absent with flu, but HAYATA does have a singles match with YO-HEY on the 20th, and so we shall see how matters progress from there.
Interestingly, YO-HEY has also spoke of “three people” being traitors.
Hajime Ohara picked up a slight, but scary injury following a kick to the face from Keisuke Ishii, he found that his sight was blurred for a few days, but rest corrected it.
Masa Kitamiya and Atsushi Kotoge (who thinks that “Masa needs a revolution”) will face off for the number one contendership for the GHC Heavyweight on the 20th January. Kaito Kiyomiya says he does not care who wins, he will face and defend against the winner.
Naomichi Marufuji will return to the ring on the 2nd February.
RATELS came to the UK to compete in IPW’S inaugural junior heavyweight tournament. Keeping to the current situation NOAH, they pretty much stayed apart (with Tadasuke the only one visibly siding with Harada, YO-HEY appearing to go off on his own and HAYATA not appearing with anyone). However, YO-HEY was seen to be standing watching HAYATA’S match with Kid Lykos, and loving it.
The tournament was held between eight wrestlers: Daisuke Harada, Tadasuke, YO-HEY, HAYATA, Chris Ridgeway, James Castle, Ben Basden and Kid Lykos.
In the first round, Daisuke Harada and Chris Ridgeway beat the hell out of each other, YO-HEY was an instant hit with the crowd (who were disappointed that he wouldn’t be coming back), James Castle faced Tadasuke and HAYATA had a match against Kid Lykos which involved heel tactics and an attack from Chris Brookes. As far as the Noah matches went in the second round, NOAH naturally did not want to ruin the eventual Harada vs YO-HEY or the YO-HEY vs HAYATA, so we were treated to HAYATA vs Daisuke Harada.
The finals came down to James Castle vs Daisuke Harada, in which Harada was victorious and became the first IPW Junior Heavyweight Champion, he was handed the belt by Doug Williams, and bought it to the ring today in NOAH.
Chris Ridgeway has vowed revenge on Harada, he says that not only will he come to Japan to make him tap out, he would also take the belt too.
A more detailed recap of the event can be found via my podcast episode at either Soundcloud or iTunes (please see links at the end of the newsletter).
NOAH VS ALL JAPAN\TOKYO SPORTS AWARDS
Tokyo Sports are suggesting that as 2019 will mark Jun Akiyama’s five years of All Japan presidency, and of course NOAH will celebrate their 20 years in August, there may well be a collaboration between the two for the anniversary, NOAH of course coming from All Japan.
At the annual awards, Naomichi Marufuji picked up the award for “Outstanding Achievement”, and Kaito Kiyomiya the award for “Fighting Spirit”.
Kaito Kiyomiya (who was described by Suwama as being “dignified, well dressed, with good posture” and “very polite to the seniors”), gave a nervous looking speech:
“I have received the “Fighting Spirit Award”. Thank you very much. When I heard I was getting this award, I was very surprised. I am proud to have taken the belt last year, and this year, as champion, as NOAH’s face, I would like to run with everyone who supports me. Thank you very much”.
Naomichi Marufuji (older and more experienced, and with the benefit of having Misawa ease him into public situations such as these), was more relaxed in his:
“Thank you very much for the “Outstanding Performance Award” of 2018. 2018 was my 20th year, but this year is my 21st. I’d like to make an effort to make a further leap. As New Japan continue to monopolize the MVP Grand Prize, I want to show the best match, so not to lose receiving the assessment”
“COME AT ME YOU BASTARDS“
Kenoh’s column Kenoh spoke in his first column of 2019 about his loss to Kaito Kiyomiya for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. He is confident that he can beat Kiyomiya for the title, but he feels there is an element of nepotism and that in his opinion, Kiyomiya is “protected by the company.”
Kenoh’s worse fears are that Marufuji will challenge for the title when he returns on the 2nd February, and that Kiyomiya will defeat him (Kenoh wants to be the one to do it), and he has sworn he will crush them both if so. Kenoh finished by saying that his goal for this year is to get his revenge on Kiyomiya, that is his “screenplay”.
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
- GHC Junior Champion & IPW Champion: Daisuke Harada
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi (“The Hooligans”)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: Hitoshi Kumano & Hajime Ohara (“The Backbreakers”)
~ YO-HEY has a new t-shirt
~ Yoshinari Ogawa has been pulled from the NOAH tour from the 19th to the 26th January as he is suffering from influenza.
~ Fifty Funky Powers disco ball was out, proud and rotating at NOAH’s show on January 13th. For their entry the lights dimmed and it threw green spots around the hall.
~ NOAH are selling in limited quantities, portrait pictures of Junta Miyawaki, Yoshiki Inamura and Kinya Okada
~ There appears to be a conflict brewing between Kenoh and Katsuhiko Nakajima
~ Tadasuke was noted to be giving Kinya Okada advice during their three way match
~ Kenoh did not take kindly to being asked to join the revolution with Atsushi Kotoge, and kicked him hard after he had asked him. Kotoge also tried to ask HAYATA and Yoshinari Ogawa, HAYATA walked off (refusing to shake hands with him) and Ogawa said “seriously?”
KING SHAMELESS CORNER
None. He’s been too preoccupied with his new dog, and the weather has been too cold for him to be rude.
The final night of “Navigation For The Future 2019” will be broadcast on Saturday 9th February 2019 at 10pm JST on Samurai.
“I will keep doing well until my daughter is adult, and my life will be full of youth, no matter how old she will be”
“Living with Cancer” is a book written in March 2018 by Kenta Kobashi. It has five chapters and details his life from his diagnosis until now. For cancer sufferers and their families, he gives advice and support, while he also details his own battle against it. The last chapter is dedicated to his family, his infant daughter and the fans.
As one reviewer has put it, Misawa taught Kobashi the importance of leaving the ring alive.
The English translation of Naomichi Marufuji’s biography “Heir To The Ark” (a work in progress), can be found here
Recommendation for 2019: Junta Miyawaki
Tokyo Sports 2018 Grand Prix Award Ceremony
Naomichi Marufuji’s Outstanding Performance Award for the first time in twelve years “An effort to make a further leap”
Kaito Kiyomiya’s first Fighting Spirit Award as “The new face of Noah”
UK Expedition Result: Daisuke Harada becomes the first IPW Junior Heavyweight Champion
POST MATCH PROMOS ~ “Navigation For The Future 2019” Night Four ~ Esupuma Isauma (Kawagoe-shi) (Sunday, January 13th 2019)
Naomichi Marufuji, Pro Wrestling Grand Prize, Special Prize winner, “I want to see the view that Misawa could not”
POST MATCH PROMOS ~ “Navigation For The Future 2019” Night Three ~ Act City Hamamatsu (12th January 2019)
Photos & gifs – credit to Tokyo Sports (group picture), Hisame (YO-HEY), Amazon.co.jp (“Living with Cancer”)