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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (2/12/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • The Miz VS John Cena; Cena wins, Miz must enter the Men’s Elimination Chamber match first.
  • The Club VS The Revival; The Revival wins.
  • Bayley VS Sasha Banks; Bayley wins.
  • Absolution w/ Paige VS Mickie James & Alexa Bliss; Absolution wins.
  • Sheaums w/ Cesaro VS Roman Reigns; Reigns wins.
  • Elimination Chamber Qualifying Fatal 4 Way: Finn Balor VS WOKEN Matt Hardy VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide VS Bray Wyatt; changed into…
  • Elimination Chamber Qualifying Fatal 5 Way: Finn Balor VS WOKEN Matt Hardy VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide VS Bray Wyatt VS Seth Rollins; double pinfall, Balor & Rollins both win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Raw opens with JOHN CENA!!

The Face that Runs the Place appreciates the mixed reaction from San Jose as fans sing “John Cena Sucks~!” Cena says “The past is the past”, and focuses on the present that is the Road to Wrestlemania. Everyone is excited because they know the importance of Wrestlemania. Whether you’re live in the arena, watching at home or a superstar in the back, everyone knows Wrestlemania “can make a superstar’s career.” Wrestlemania can bring someone back from the dead, and can be the most important night in a WWE superstar’s career. Every week, every wrestler makes their case for a ‘Mania Moment, but Cena must face the truth. Cena has to win the Elimination Chamber Match to get to Wrestlemania. He knows the fans have mixed reactions, but “for the first time in 15 years”, Cena may not have a Road to Wrestlemania. So to those who oppose, Cena will state his case: “I have to survive the most unwinnable match” to face “the most unbeatable champion in WWE history.” In other words, it’s “impossible.” But whether you’re for him or against him, everyone knows Cena loves making the impossible possible! Cena vows to win the Chamber and vows to go to Wrestlemania against Brock Lesnar! But The Miz comes out to respond.

“You’re gonna go on to main event Wrestlemania?” This isn’t 2013, this is 2018, The Year of the Miz! Maybe Cena’s been off in Hollywood too much and is losing track of reality. Cena defeat Lesnar? Cena’s a founding father of Suplex City! The Miz will go on to Wrestlemania because that’s where his Intercontinental Championship belongs. He will be the first dual IC & Universal Champion when he defeats Brock Lesnar! Cena points out fans quite literally laughing at Miz’s comments. Miz has no chance– no wait, there is a small chance, like Lesnar not making his flight. But Miz’s first match with Lesnar may very well be his last match ever. That’s where Cena is wrong. Cena made a mitake beating Lesnar at his own game, but Miz will play to his own strengths, i.e. his brains. Miz does “whatever it takes” and uses “whatever is at my disposal”. He wins because he does what others won’t, he crosses lines that others won’t, which is why Miz beat Roman Reigns for the IC Championship and will beat Lesnar in the main event of Wrestlemania! But, Miz has to survive the Chamber first. He sounds overly confident. Well Miz is confident because he’s done it before, to John Cena.

Cena admits that he likes Miz being bold enough to run his mouth. But in the middle of “Miz Country”, Cena suggests Miz VS Cena! And they need to make it huge: the loser enters the Chamber first!! now that’s a Monday Night Raw worthy of the Road to Wrestlemania! The fans agree with “YES! YES!” Miz isn’t stupid, Cena. The fans think he is, though. But Miz knows that going in first means the worst chance of winning. And as insurance, The Miztourage goes after Cena! Bo Dallas & Curt Axel hit him with the back suplex neckbreaker! Miz still accepts the challenge, and calls for a referee! But instead, he gets Raw GM Kurt Angle!

Angle won’t allow this match to happen like this. He likes the idea, making the loser enter the Chamber first. The match is on, but “speaking of eliminations,” The Miztourage is eliminated from ringside! Bo, Axel, get the hell out of here! The A-Lister no longer has his aces in the hole, has he just stuck his foot in his mouth?

The Miz VS John Cena!

The Bell rings and Miz covers right away, TWO!! Miz freaks out, he swears that was three! It wasn’t, so Miz goes after Cena with a hammer of left hands. Another cover, another TWO! Miz begs he win already, but we go to break.

Raw returns to see Miz blast Cena off the apron. Miz slips out to fetch Cena, not satisfied with his work. He throws Cena into the barriers along the ramp! Then he throws Cena back into the ring before climbing up top. Miz takes aim at Cena, and knocks him down with double ax handles. Cover, TWO, Miz returns to being frustrated. He looms over Cena while the fans duel “Let’s go Cena!” “Cena Sucks!” Miz knocks Cena down each time he gets up, but then Cena flips over and gives knees to Miz’s groin. Cena dropkicks Miz, covers, TWO. Cena gets up and drags Miz to his feet for the Fisherman suplex. Cover, TWO, and Cena tries again. Miz knees low a few times then kicks Cena in the head. Miz gets a running start to boot Cena in the face, covers, TWO. The frustration builds, but Miz keeps his cool. Cena stirs, crawling to a corner while the fans rally. Miz goes after Cena with body shots, and backs off at 4. He runs back in but into a back elbow, Cena hops up for a tornado DDT!

Cover, TWO! Miz crawls to ropes while Cena stands up. Cena whips but Miz reverses, into the sleeper hold! Miz brings Cena to his knees then to the mat, but the fans keep dueling. Cena wills himself back up as the fans fire up, but Miz adds on his full weight. Cena fades and falls back to the mat. Miz keeps squeezing, but Cena finds his second wind. He reaches but can’t get out while we go to another break.

Raw returns again, and Miz stalks Cena for his finish. The full-nelson is on but Cena throws Miz off. Fireman’s carry but Miz slips down to Figure Four!

Cena endures the legendary leg lock while the fans “WOO~!” and Miz shouts for him to give up. But instead of giving up, Cena pries himself free and reverses into his hold, the STF! Miz endures the combination crossface and toehold, but drags himself towards ropes. He reaches out, and gets the ropebreak! Cena lets go at 2, and Miz gets to the apron while he goes to the other side. Cena returns, drags Miz up, but Miz hotshots Cena back. Miz climbs up to the top rope again, crossbody, but Cena catches him! Pop-up to the fireman’s carry but Miz slips out, kicks out a knee, low DDT! TWO! Miz can’t believe it! Cena gets himself to a corner for safety while both men catch their breaths. San Jose declares “This is Awesome!” while both men stand up. Miz takes aim and runs corner to corner, and hits his A-List corner clothesline! Cena drops tot he mat while Miz fires himself up. Miz sees Cena in the other corner and runs in, but Cena catches him into the AA!

TWO!! Cena is in disbelief as he gets himself to the apron. He thinks about what to do next, and decides to climb up. Miz bumps ropes and that brings Cena down. Miz gets the Figure Four again! Cena tries to pry himself out again but Miz keeps him from doing that, so Cena drags Miz into a crossface! Miz endures, drags himself again, and gets another ropebreak. The two separate again, but Cena run sin but into buckles! Skull Crushing Finale!! TWO!! The advantage in the Chamber means this much to both of them! They both catch their breath while down on the mat, Cena back in a corner again. Miz gets up and brings himself over. He hoists Cena up to the top rope, then makes his way up from the outside. Miz climbs up from behind and puts Cena in the full-nelson… But Cena breaks out to get the fireman’s carry! SUPER AA!! Cena wins!

Miz must enter the Chamber first! The leader of the Cenation celebrates with fans in the front row, thanking those that inspire him.

Can Cena outlast The Miz and five others to become #1 contender to the Beast? As for Miz, can he survive at all?

 

WOKEN Matt Hardy speaks.

“Tonight I have a second chance to fulfill my destiny.” However, her has Apollo Crews, Finn Balor and “the vile” Bray Wyatt to contend with. But Hardy has been blessed by the Seven Deities to render them OBSOLETE! Hardy shall be victorious and make the Elimination Chamber shall become the DELETION Chamber! Will Hardy DELETE the other three tonight to then DELETE five others at the Elimination Chamber PPV?

 

The Balor Club’s Good Brothers speak.

The Revival have been pushing the “Nerd-o-meter” to the absolute limit when they talk about being tag team specialists. Yet, Finn and ol’ Karlski shut them up last week. This week, Gallows wants his turn. Being able to name tag teams from 1902 doesn’t make them #TopGuys, it makes them… NEEEEERDS!!

The Club VS The Revival!

But while Anderson & Gallows make their entrance, Dash & Dawson ambush them from behind! Gallows gets a chop block, then Anderson gets a double lariat. The #TopGuys leave the Good Brothers writhing on the outside while they enter the ring, then dare them to get in. Gallows & Anderson recover and get pissed off before rushing the ring. Dash & Dawson run out of the ring to troll The Club, because this match starts “when we say.” The Revival talk strategy then return to the ring. Gallows and Dawson start, Gallows going right at him with big rights. He pushes Dawson into a corner and unloads body shots, then blasts Dash for good measure. Gallows rocks Dawson with an uppercut, then throws him halfway across the ring!

Dawson gets to another corner but gets more heavy hands from Gallows! Gallows drags Dawson up and whips to ropes, then boots him right down. Dash returns, to get a big body drop. Anderson goes after Dash himself with a rain of rights. The referee gets in the way, Gallows shoves Dash out but Dawson chop blocks again! The Revival gain control while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Dawson has exposed Gallows’ battered knee to go right at it. He tags in Dash, and they keep on the knee from all sides. Gallows shoves Dash but Dash stomps him back. The fans rally for The Club even as Dash puts on a knee wrench and toehold.

Gallows endures the torque, and even kicks out with his good leg. Dash holds on as Gallows stands up and gets a haymaker. Dawson tags in and jumps, but into a YAKUZA kick! Gallows crawls for hsi corner and hot tags The Machine Gun! Anderson rallies on Dash, his whip is reversed but he hits shotgun knees. He takes out Dawson then jump kicks Dash down! The fans fire up as Anderson hops up, and hits a flying neckbreaker! Dawson returns but Gallows drags him out to rock him with uppercuts. But then Dawson throws Gallows into steel steps! Anderson goes after Dawson, Dash rolls up with tights, TWO! SPINEBUSTER!

TWO! Anderson keeps focused on Dash, then runs in corner to corner. Dawson tags in, but Anderson fights them both, He still goes after Dash, but ends up in SHATTER MACHINE! Revival wins! These rough and tumble boys prove they’re #TopGuys tonight, can they get ahead in the Raw Tag Team Championship hunt?

 

Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle, returns.

The Olympic Gold Medalist comes out with “mixed emotions.” He announces that Rhonda Rousey will officially sign her WWE contract! But he also must update us on the situation with Jason Jordan’s neck. Jordan got surgery, and will be out to miss Wrestlemania. Some fans actually like that news. Angle does his best to come to work with a smile on his face, but not right now. He is speaking not as GM but as a father. For those to take join in a superstar’s injury, you should be ashamed of yourself. Jordan may not be everyone’s favorite, but he’s a human being and is Angle’s son. Angle just wants everyone to wish Jordan “Get Well Soon”. But then, Seth Rollins comes out!

The Architect was the Gold Blooded Son’s most recent tag team partner, and the two were Raw Tag Team Champions together. Therefore, Rollins comes out to apologize and give his best wishes. Rollins knows what it’s like. He was WWE Champion, and won it at Levi Stadium after caching in his Money in the Bank contract. Rollins felt unstoppable, on top of the world, even. But then “it all came crumbling down” when he messed up his knee, forfeited the title and missed ‘Mania. But missing ‘Mania helped Rollins learn that no one’s moment is guaranteed. Rollins realizes that he, too, is without something to do at even Elimination Chamber. Angle did say that last week’s match was Rollins’ last chance, but maybe they can change that. All they have to do is find Rollins another tag team partner. Rollins speaks up, saying thanks, but no thanks. When Angle became GM, he said Rollins could be a mainstay. Rollins doesn’t want to be part of Raw anymore. No, he wants to be ALL of Monday Night Raw! Rollins wants to make this Monday Night Rollins!

He wants to be The Man again. He wants Brock Lesnar, the Universal Championship, and at Wrestlemania. The only way to do that is to win the Elimination Chamber. Angle appreciates Rollins’ enthusiasm, but he can’t just cancel the main event. Rollins doesn’t want it handed to him, he wants to earn it. Make the Fatal 4 Way, and make it a Fatal FIVE, with Rollins as the fifth! The fans like that idea very much! Angle isn’t so sure, it doesn’t seem fair to the other four. Angle doesn’t want to be put in a bad spot. But Rollins’ fate is in Angle’s hands as he puts his body on the line for Raw. Jordan missing ‘Mania sucks, yes, but Rollins shouldn’t have to miss out, too. In all honesty, it isn’t up to Rollins or to Angle, it’s up to the WWE Universe. Angle asks, but the answer is pretty clear already. Should Rollins get a chance to enter the Chamber? “YES! YES!” Then the match is made! Can the Architect find a way into the high-stakes Elimination Chamber match!?

 

Bray Wyatt speaks.

“Well, well, well.” Seth Rollins joins the game? He doesn’t deserve a second chance, but neither do Balor, Crews or “that fool” Hardy. Hardy attacks Bray, yet he calls Bray vile? Hardy is “another sick disturbed man in need of help.” Bray knows how to fix him and everyone. They’re like fish by the sea, stalked by a shark. Bray is that shark, and he is starving. He vows to win his second Chamber match in a row, and then slay The Beast to become champion, and “have the whole world in my hands.” Can the Eater of Worlds follow through on his words?

 

Bayley VS Sasha Banks!

The “friendly” competition in trying to break Asuka’s Streak first has made these best friends a bit bitter with each other. Both women are in the inaugural Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber match, but who will gain an extra step of momentum here tonight?

San Jose cheers on their hometown Huggable Bayley as the bell rings. Bayley and Sasha circle, hearing the thunderous chants. They tie up and Bayley rolls, ONE. Sasha tries but Bayley counters to a backslide, ONE. They stand up together, Bayley arm wrenches and La Mahistrol, ONE. Bayley is having fun but Sasha seems annoyed. Sasha kicks low then whips Bayley to a corner, but Bayley elbows out and jumps for a flying arm-drag. Bayley dropkicks Sasha down, then waits for her friend to stand back up. Sasha pushes Bayley into a corner and fires off forearms. The fans boo and jeer, the two scrap and Bayley gets a headlock. Sasha powers out but Bayley runs her over. Bayley runs, things speed up, Bayley rolls Sasha but Sasha slips around for the Bank Statement but Bayley slips out of that. Sasha sits for the pin, TWO. Sasha wrenches Bayley’s arm and yanks on it, then whips Bayley for the hip toss. She adds on double knees, covers, TWO. Bayley checks her teeth while Sasha stands up and walks around her. Sasha goes after the arm again, but Bayley fights out Bayley whips but Sasha reverses and hits her with a forearm before throwing her right out of the ring. Sasha catches her breath while fans boo and jeer. She welcomes Bayley back into the ring, but then dropkicks her back down. Sasha goes out to fetch Bayley, puts her in the ring, but Bayley powers her to a corner. Bayley rams in shoulders, but then Sasha slips out to hotshot the bad shoulder! The Legit Boss embraces the heat while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Sasha bends Bayley back with a straitjacket stretch. The San Jose fans cheer for their Bayley, and Bayley feeds off the energy to work her way up. She fights out of the hold but Sasha gives Bayley an armbar code breaker. Cover, TWO, and Sasha grows frustrated. She looms over Bayley in the corner, trash talking and shoving her “friend.” Bayley throws a forearm, then boots but Sasha turns her sideways, for the Stock- no, Bayley catches her, but on the bad shoulder. Sasha slips down and kicks it from behind. Then she hits double knees in the corner, mocks Bayley’s wacky waving tube men, runs corner to corner, but into Bayley’s big lariat!

The fans fire up for their hometown hero while the referee starts a ten count. Both women stir slowly, and brawl on their knees. They brawl up to their feet, Sasha slapping Bayley! She runs, but into Bayley’s Thesz press and fast hands! Bayley brings Sasha up but Sasha forearms back, so Bayley barrels her into a corner! Bayley throws in shoulders, then starts stomping a mudhole! The referee backs her off, Sasha runs out, into the saido suplex! Sasha rolls to the apron, Bayley goes over, second rope hotshot! Cover, TWO! The fans rally for Bayley as she gets to her feet. She brings Sasha back up, but Sasha jawbreakers. Evne so, Bayley runs to boot Sasha in the face! Sasha rolls away but Bayley gets herself to a corner. Bayley climbs up top and takes aim… Big Elbow Drop misses! Sasha gets the Bank Statement crossface! Bayley flails while the fans cheer her on! She crawls to the far side, reaches for the ropes, but Sasha blocks with a foot on the rope. The ref reprimands her, Bayley gets the break. Sasha keeps going, though, dragging Bayley away. Bayley uses that to fling Sasha face first into buckles! Both women are down recovering. Bayley gets up first, but Sasha boots her away. Sasha drags herself up but Bayley rocks her with a right. Bayley climbs up now, throws some forearms, then positions Sasha. Sasha resists and fights back. She shoves Bayley away, but Bayley returns, SUPER Bayley2Belly!! Bayley wins!! Best friends or not, these two went hard this close to the historic Women’s Chamber match. Can this victory carry Bayley all the way through to once again become Raw Women’s Champion?

Being a good sport, Bayley returns to her friend. But before either can do anything, Nia Jax runs them over from outta nowhere!!

She brings Bayley up, for the Samoan Drop! Then a Samoan Drop for Sasha, too. Charly Caruso appears to ask her why she ruined a moment that has nothing to do with her. This has everything to do with Nia. Bayley and Sasha brought Asuka to her limit but she wrecked them in seconds. At Elimination Chamber, there’s only woman who can break the Streak, “and you’re looking at her.” The Brutal Beauty is set to face the Empress of Tomorrow for a major opportunity of her own at the Raw Women’s Championship. Can the Irresistible Force wreak her own havoc on the Road to Wrestlemania?

 

Seth Rollins encounters Roman Reigns backstage.

The Big Dog sees The Architect “worked your magic.” Well Roman can’t have all the fun in the Chamber. He’s not afraid Rollins will get in, will he? No, because Roman can eliminate him then like he did at the Royal Rumble. But then The Bar walk in and tell Rollins not to worry about The Chamber. With his track record, it’ll be another “failed opportunity.” Cesaro wonders if Dean Ambrose and Jason Jordan are doing physical rehab together, talking about how lousy Rollins is as a partner.

Roman keeps Rollins back, then grins at The Bar. What happened to Cesaro’s mouth again? Ran into the Shield. And Sheamus must not have gotten the memo. “But you will tonight.” Nice skirts, fellas. Is the partial Shield going to go after The Bar again tonight?

 

Raw takes a look at The Empress of Tomorrow’s historic undefeated streak.

October 7, 2015: “An undefeated campaign was born.” Asuka arrived in NXT with a win, and 860 days later, she has 240 wins, 0 losses. “How do you defeat the undefeated?” Asuka has defeated 34 different women, eight of them former women’s champions in their own right. She held the NXT Women’s Championship for 523 days, and only ended because she gave up the title to join Monday Night Raw. Asuka is the first woman to be a Survivor Series Sole Survivor and Royal Rumble winner, and now has her choice of Women’s Championships at Wrestlemania. There’s no end in sight, but she will face her toughest challenge yet in Nia Jax. Will the Empress of Tomorrow continue making history through Elimination Chamber?

 

Backstage interview with Titus Worldwide.

Apollo Crews could make history in his on right by entering the Elimination Chamber match. Titus takes over to give Renee Young a world class vacation. He asks if Crews is worried about being DELETED? No, Crews is here to CREATE! Bray Wyatt is a shark going after “another fish in the sea.” Is Crews afraid of the Eater of Worlds? Bray can’t digest him. Will Crews let Rollins #BurnitDown? No, he’s going to put Rollins out! And what about waiting in line for Balor Club? Crews is already in a VIP club right here. Yes, Crews is ready, and Dana crunches the numbers. She says #CrewsCan’tLose! Titus is all fired up for Crews, and Crews is ready to take one small step for Apollo, and one giant leap for Titus WORLDWIDE~!

 

Alexa Bliss encounters Mickie James backstage.

What is The Goddess up to? Why did she save her from Absolution and why are they teaming up against them tonight? Well, the match is because Alexa asked for it. She’s sick of the newbs thinking they can run Raw, and Mickie must want revenge. Plus, she wants to clear the air. Alexa did some and said some really mean things. Like calling her old? Buying Depends? Mickie remembers, but what about it, Biscuit Butt? Alexa admits she was jealous. Mickie is a six time women’s champion and mother who still looks amazing. She’s impressed and intimidated, that’s all. And? Well, that was an apology. But it’s fine, Alexa just wants to point out that if Absolution works together in the Chamber, everyone else gets screwed out of the Raw Women’s Championship. Is that why Alexa tried to weasel her way out of the match? No… But Absolution can just play keep-away with the title! Mickie appreciates what Alexa did last week, and will work together this week, but she wants that championship at Chamber. Play nice for now, but you’re “buttering the wrong biscuit, honey.”

Absolution w/ Paige VS Mickie James & Alexa Bliss!

As The Goddess and the veteran both said, the Gladiator and the Golden Goddess could easily work together to make sure one of them wins in the Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber match. Can Mickie & Alexa keep them down tonight despite their dysfunction?

Mandy and Mickie start with the bell. They circle, tie up, and Mickie gets the headlock takeover. Mandy gets the headscissor counter but Mickie pops out to wrap on a headlock. Mandy powers out but Mickie runs her over then cartwheels to dropkick Mandy down. Cover, ONE, but Mickie keeps on Mandy. Mickie whips but Mandy reverses to elbow her back. Tag to Sonya, waistlock and slam to the mat. Sonya keeps hold but Mickie elbows her back. Mickie then dodges to kick and kick and run Sonya over with forearms. Tag to Alexa, they double whip and double back elbow Sonya down. Alexa gives Insult2Injury, covers, TWO. Paige coaches Sonya, Sonya fights back with body shots. Alexa knees low and bends Sonya back for the standing STO. She stands on Sonya’s hair, Paige protests, Alexa tags to Mickie. Mickie runs for the low boot!

Cover, TWO. Sonya powers Mickie to a corner an drams in shoulders. She runs out then back in but into Mickie’s boot, and into the mick-rana! Mickie hits Sonya with a Thesz press, then Mandy with a forearm. Sonya roundhouses Mickie down, covers, TWO. Paige coaches her team on as Mandy tags in. Sonya throws in body shots then Mandy throws in a kick. Mnady brings Mickie out for the standing abdominal stretch. Alexa cheers Mickie on while she endures the bend, Mickie slips out to snapmare Mandy away. Mandy kicks but misess, Mickie spins her around for the neckbraeker. Both women are down and a ten count begins. Paige distracts Alexa from the floor, Alexa argues with her, Sonya trips Alea off the apron! Mickie is too late to tag, Mandy pounces with the double underhook facebuster! Cover, Absolution wins! Their teamwork proves Alexa’s point, as does Paige sicking them on Mickie! Alexa returns to fight Absolution off, does this prove Alexa’s words of wanting to stand united against them?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter has come to San Jose, and as always, plays his guitar for all to hear. He has one question, the same question as always, “Who Wants to Walk With Elias?!” San Jose gives a “pathetic” response. The best thing about this city is that it’s just an hour away from a real city like San Francisco. Well no, every city in California is “a toxic dump.” Must Elias remind everyone that he is the man who defeated John Cena AND Braun Strowman at the same time, and made himself the “odds on favorite” to win the Elimination Chamber? Elias vows to win and go on to Wrestlemania. Then everyone will know what the WWE Universe knows, WWE means “Walk With Elias!” A much better response this time, Elias likes that. Elias also likes the sound of his own voice. He has come with a new song, The Elimination Chamber Blues. Please silence phones, hold applause and shut mouths while he performs. “Six men enter~, but really only one-” The fans’ booing disrupts him. “If that’s how you’re gonna be then I’m not gonna sing.” The fans like the sound of that even better! Elias keeps going, though, he’s already all warmed up. “It ain’t gonna be the Big Dog, because nobody believes. As for The Miz, he should watch his step. Maybe just stick to Miz TV. Remember those songs I wrote, Miz? Those weren’t for you, those were for Maryse!” He smashed JOhn Cena with a guitar, “the only thing he can’t see, is that the future is right here.” Then there’s Braun Strowman, “I get it, raise your hands, say a name but, I’m gonna douse your dreams in gasoline and watch them go up in flames.” But Jojo announces “Ladies and Gentlemen: Braun Strowman.”

Strowman has his OWN spotlight and microphone!? Elias isn’t sure what the Monster Among Men has planned, until he presents a cello to play as a guitar. Strowman strums but ends up breaking it. “Well Elias says he’s gonna win~. But we all know that that ain’t true. You look at me, boy, when I’m singing, cuz I’m not finished with you!” Elias gets worried, “but when this song’s over, you’re gonna get these hands~!” The fans chant “Get these hands!” Strowman broke the instrument so “there’s only one thing left I can do with it.” The Monster Among Men shoulders the “bass”, and brings it to the ring!

Elias gets ready with his musical weapon, but then says to “settle this like men.” They’ll put the weapons down, and have a fair fight. He puts the guitar down, Strowman puts the cello down, and the two meet in the ring, Elias blindsiding Strowman! However, he goes back to his guitar, only for Strowman to intercept him. Strowman clubs Elias right down! Then he pick shim back up, for the monstrous powerslam! Strowman roars victoriously, will it even matter that Elias goes in last if Strowman is still in the Chamber?

Elias tries to crawl away, but Strowman exits the ring. He looks at his cello, and picks it back up! Strowman stalks Elias up the ramp and to the stage. The fans want to see it, Strowman smashes Elias with the cello!!

Forget Elias, does anyone stand a chance in the Chamber with Strowman in the match?

 

Finn Balor speaks.

Hardy wants to DELETE him, Bray wants to eat him? Apollo wants to prove “Crews Can’t Lose” and Rollins wants to be The Man. Balor doesn’t care what they want, he wants to use his second chance to enter and win the Elimination Chamber match. Then he can get what he wants: what he never lost; the Universal Championship!

 

Sheaums w/ Cesaro VS Roman Reigns!

The Celtic Gladiator and Swiss Cyborg feel pretty good about still being Raw Tag Team Champions, despite the minor controversy of Jason Jordan’s interference. However, to get even for his Shield Brother, The Big Dog looks to drag Sheamus into His Yard. Can Roman use the tag team champion as a way to gain momentum before the Elimination Chamber match?

The bell rings and Roman makes sure Cesaro stays back. He circles with Sheamus then ties up. Sheamus pushes but Roman pushes him back into a corner. They break cleanly, then circle and tie up again. Sheamus gets the wristlock, the arm wrench, but Roman reverses to his own hammerlock. Sheamus gets to the ropes and they break again, but Roman teases the Mohawk. They go again, Roman gets the waistlock but Sheamus elbows out. Sheamus backs Roman into a corner with body shots, then rocks him with a European Uppercut and a headbutt. Roman hits back, bumping Sheamus off buckles and then whipping him corner to corner. Sheamus reverses but Roman fires out with a clothesline. The Bar regroups on the outside, Cesaro coaching up “Sheamy.”

Sheamus returns but Roman rocks him with right hands and then clotheslines him back outside. Cesaro helps Sheamus regroup again while the fans duel “Let’s go Roman!” “Roman sucks!” Sheamus drags Roman out and throws hands on the outside before bumping Roman off the apron. Roman keeps himself from going into the post then slings Sheamus into barriers! He bounces Sheamus off the apron in return, then throws him into more barriers. The fans cheer while Roman refreshes the count. He has to back Cesaro down, Sheamus takes advantage with the rolling senton!

The Celtic Gladiator has control while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Sheamus keeps Roman down with a keylock. The fans make noise but Cesaro doesn’t want to hear the random “Rusev Day!” chants. Sheamus wants them to “Respect the ‘Hawk!” Roman works his way up but Sheamus knees him back down. The fans tell Sheamus “You Look Stupid!” which upsets him, but Roman makes it worse with haymakers. Roman breaks free and starts rallying with lariats. He whips but Sheamus reverses, Roman runs Sheamus over with one more lariat. Roman runs at Sheamus in a corner but gets a big boot before being thrown right into the post. Then Sheamus adds the Irish Curse backbreaker, cover, TWO! Sheamus keeps going, stomping Roman in the stomach and tying up the legs in the Cloverleaf! Roman endures the bend while fans make noise both ways. Roman pushes himself up and reaches but Sheamus drags him away. Sheamus slips out of the hold, Roman shoves him then gets the Samoan Drop! Cover, TWO! Cesaro is relieved, but also coaches Sheamus to get back into this. Sheamus and Roman stir, the fans start firing up for Roman. He gets to a corner, locks and loads, then runs…

into White Noise! Cover, TWO! Sheamus is shocked, Cesaro protests. Cesaro gets Sheamus to stay focused, and Sheamus gets himself to a corner. Sheamus fires himself up, “FELLAAA!” He beats his chest a she takes aim at Roman, runs out, into a  SUPERMAN PUNCH! TWO! Cesaro is relieved again while Roman is a bit surprised. Roman gets up, lets out his howl, then runs in, to a foot! Sheamus runs out, but is picked up for the sit-out powerbomb! TWO! Both men are down from exhaustion, but Cesaro coaches Sheamus up. The fans keep cheering Roman on, and Roman gets up again. He fires up as he takes aim again, but Cesaro distracts from the apron. Sheamus rolls, TWO! Bicycle knee! Cover, TWO! Sheamus is furious with Roman’s resiliency.

He shoves Roman out of the ring, then distracts the ref for Cesaro to run in, but Cesaro is tossed into the crowd! Then SUPERMAN PUNCH brings Cesaro down! Sheamus rams a shoulder, but then Roman reverses a whip to send Sheamus into a post! Roman runs in for the Drive-By, but is intercepted by a lariat! Sheamus puts Roman in the ring then climbs up top. He takes aim, flying– SPEAR!! Cover, Roman wins! The Big Dog toughed it out with the Celtic Gladiator, can he show this same resiliency inside the Elimination Chamber?

 

Raw announces the newest Hall of Fame inductee: Ivory!

Starting in GLOW, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the California grown superwoman would come to the WWE and help revolutionize the Women’s Division! Unfortunately, her triumph went to her head, and attempted to straighten out the WWE with her Right to Censor faction. She took on other great women wrestlers, such as Lita, Trish Stratus and even the Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna! Whichever form of Ivory fans liked most, everyone can agree she belongs in the HoF Class of 2018!

 

Elimination Chamber Qualifying Fatal 5 Way: Finn Balor VS WOKEN Matt Hardy VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide VS Bray Wyatt VS Seth Rollins!

The Architect joins four other superstars who are receiving a second chance at entering the Universal Championship #1 Contenders match. Which man will rise above the others to then attempt another overcoming of odds?

Raw returns with this match already red hot. Hardy and Bray brawl on an apron while Rollins stalks Crews around a corner. Bray clubs Hardy into the apron while Crews ditches Rollins. Crews bumps Bray off to then hit an asai moonsault!

Balor returns but gets a mule kick and a boot! Rollins returns but gets the jumping lariat! Crews kip-ups and fires up as he runs at Balor. Balor puts him on the apron for the swing kick. Rollins gets up but Balor rallies with forearms on him. Takedown and double stomp! Bray returns, Balor gets him with the elbow drop DDT, Hardy breaks the cover. Hardy forearms Balor and whips him but Balor elbows him away. Balor climbs but Hardy stops him. Hardy drags Balor out in a crucifix, but Rollins SUPERKICKS that down. Balor unloads on Rollins but Rollins runs, into the Slingblade! Balor runs corner to corner but into a SUPERKICK! Rollins sees Bray and evades, but still gets the body check! Bray fires up and drags Rollins to his feet. He prepares Sister Abigail but Rollins rolls through, TWO! SUPERKICK! Cover, Balor barely breaks it in time. Rollins throws Balor back out, then keeps Hardy out before returning to Bray. He scrambles to a corner and the top rope, but Crews returns to rock him with a right. Crews climbs up to join Rollins, then Hardy joins in. Balor does, too, and they prepare a Tower of Doom, but Bray returns to break it all up with another body check. Bray throws Balor out, then throws hands on Hardy. He throws Crews away and drags Rollins out for the draping shoulder jawbreaker!  Crews runs back in, but into the yurinagi and back senton!

TWO! Bray simply grins and laughs while we go to break.

Raw returns again, Bray clobbers Balor in a corner then fires fans up with his creepy spider walk. But Hardy says “WONDERFUL~!” and applauds. Bray is taken off his game while Hardy and the fans give him an ovation. He runs but into Hardy’s haymakers and forearms, then the DELETE buckle bumps. Hardy runs in for the clothesline but Bray powers out, only to end up in the Side Effect! Balor returns, and he gets a Side Effect, too!

Hardy hops up and takes aim, elbow to Bray’s head. He continues the “DELETE! DELETE!” and goes for the Twist, but Rollins hits the flying clothesline! Rollins chops and punches Bray into a corner, then whips corner to corner but is reversed. Bray runs but is booted away, as is Crews. Rollins hops up, double blockbuster! The fans fire up while Rollins sees that Wrestlemania sign. He runs, DIVES on Balor! Then he DIVES on Hardy! Then he DIVES on Bray! The Architect gets back in the ring with Crews, runs in corner to corner for the forearm smash, then right into the suplex roll-through Falcon arrow! Cover, TWO, and Titus is relieved. Crews and Rollins are down inside the ring while the others are all down on the outside. Titus rallies the fans, Crews and Rollins stand up. Crews elbows Rollins away but then Rollins knees Crews out. Bray returns, gets an enziguri! Rollins runs, but into the turn-around lariat! Bray covers, TWO, while Balor blasts Hardy and Crews on the outside. Balor gets back into the ring and slingblade on Bray! Blasting dropkick puts Bray in the corner. Balor climbs up top, takes aim but Rollins springs up to join him! They fight each other, but Rollins clubs Balor down. He Phoenix Splashes but rolls through when Bray evade.s Sister- no, Twist of Fate! Cover, Coup De Grace to break it! CURB STOMP!!

But Crews breaks the pin! Everyone is down again and the fans are loving it! “This is Awesome!” Crews and Rollins stir while Balor gets to the apron. The fans rally while Crews fires off shots, but then Rollins responds. Rollins forearms away on Crews like mad, then runs, but into a trophy lift! He slips out but Crews still gets him, Fall Away Drop to Standing Moonsault! TWO! Titus can’t believe how close Crews was. The others are all still down, so time is of the essence. Crews brings Rollins up, but Rollins resists and fights back. Wristlock reel out but enziguri counter! Standing shooting star, cover, TWO! Titus coaches Crews on, and Crews positions Rollins before climbing up top. Hardy returns to go after him, climbing up to join him. Crews resists, but Hardy clobbers him down to try again. Crews keeps fighting, and Bray brings Hardy all the way down for SISTER ABIGAIL on the ground!

Bray laughs before reentering the ring and going after Crews. He turns Crews around and rock shim with an uppercut before climbing up. Balor and Rollins revive to go over, and TOWER OF DOOM!! Both Balor and Rollins cover Bray, double three-count!? They both win?!

But, there’s only one spot in the Chamber, they can’t both go. And once both of them realize what happened, they’re arguing their point. The referee explains he saw them both pin Bray, so who the heck won!?

WWE Facebook has video of Angle meeting with Rollins & Balor!

Kurt Angle addresses Raw's controversial main event

WWE Raw GM Kurt Angle has a solution following the end of the #Fatal5Way match! #WWEChamber

Posted by WWE on Monday, February 12, 2018

Yes, you heard right! Angle makes this Men’s Elimination Chamber truly historic by making it a SEVEN MAN match! Both The Architect and the Extraordinary Man join the Hollywood A-Lister, the Cenation, the Monster Among Men, The Big Dog and The Drifter in the Universal Championship #1 Contenders match! With the odds of the match growing even steeper, who will overcome and move on to face the Beast at Wrestlemania?!

 

My Thoughts:

What a fast-paced and entertaining Raw! Probably because it was more match and substance than promos and scripted attempts at building characters. Cena opens but gets right into a promo fight with Miz that leads to a match that actually impacts the Elimination Chamber match. Cena-Miz here tonight was incredible, championship/PPV worthy given the stakes. Miz losing isn’t even that bad, he can show how tough and intelligent he is by lasting a long time. And you may think, “What’s the point of making someone start first? Someone else will start with them.” But that in itself is the point: someone else starts with Miz, but that person could be anyone. Miz must be one of the first two to start the match, meaning he must survive them all to win. Then Revival VS Club was also great, and the back and forth in the wins and losses creates an evenly matched feud that helps build both teams up in the Raw Tag Team Division. The Bar doesn’t have challengers right now, but I imagine one or both of these teams could challenge them at Elimination Chamber or at Wrestlemania. And speaking of The Bar, Sheamus VS Roman was another solid match to keep Roman looking strong, as we can all tell he’s still the favorite for challenging Lesnar at ‘Mania.

The Raw Women’s Division moments were great, too. Sasha VS Bayley was amazing, on par with their instant classics from back in NXT, right down to Sasha being the all-but-stated Heel throughout. Even Nia attacking them both after was great, because Nia wants everyone to respect her. The fans already love her, but I still don’t think she’ll break Asuka’s Streak at Chamber, that’s something that should happen at ‘Mania, but maybe not this year’s ‘Mania. Meanwhile, Mickie rightfully questions Alexa’s motives, but they also rightfully keep it together as a team against Absolution. Absolution wins to further Alexa’s point, and to make the duo of Sonya & Mandy a strong alliance. The inaugural Women’s Chamber match could go anyone’s way but it’d be quite the pleasant surprise if Alexa lost to Sasha or Bayley so that they can fight over the belt on the Road to Wrestlemania.

Then there is THE major development in the Men’s Elimination Chamber match with the surprise Fatal 5 Way. Everyone was great it in, everyone got their moments, but then the finish was unexpected yet (in my opinion) spectacular. Balor and Rollins, the two men that first fought over the Universal Championship, both get a pinfall and though the televised version ends with controversy and confusion, WWE uses social media to sort it out. I’m thinking for this first ever Seven Man Elimination Chamber match, perhaps instead of two men starting it’ll be three so that Miz will have to use his two opponents against each other. If Roman winning is a foregone conclusion then there’s no point in complaining about the result, I just personally hope Balor lasts right up until the end.

My Score: 8.8/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (2/10/18)

Published

on

ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 334

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

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas w/ Silas Young VS Team Coast 2 Coast; no contest.
  • Six Man Tag: Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS Kenny King & Coast 2 Coast; King & C2C win.
  • First WOH Championship Tournament Opening Round match: Madison Rayne VS Mandy Leon; Mandy wins and advances to the second round.
  • ROH World Heavyweight Championship: Dalton Castle w/ The Boys VS Punishment Martinez; Castle wins and retains the ROH WHC.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dalton Castle speaks.

The Peacock and ROH WHC is “always ready, always limber and never surprised.” He can go left, he can go right– Wait were both Boys here this whole time? “Not much can surprise me.” And that is why the second the ROH WHC became his, Castle knew that he was “instantly the biggest target in ROH.” So when someone like Punishment Martinez attacked from behind, Castle wasn’t surprised. “Who can blame him? I would do the same thing, if I was a big lummox with eye-liner.” Castle would try for any advantage possible, “especially if I had to fight me.” Martinez clearly understands this isn’t the same Peacock from before, he’s “gonna be looking face to face with a champion!” Castle is “a man willing to fight to protect what he’s earned!” Castle is a man “with no other plan than to come out swinging, and do everything he can to insure that he leaves Nashville still your world champion!” The Peacock is brimming with confidence, can he keep the Reincarnation of the Purple Mist at bay?

 

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas w/ Silas Young VS Team Coast 2 Coast!

The Last Real Man and World Television Champion accompanies the newest and literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division as they make their in-ring debut. However, they go up against a team that not only went #DoOrDie against another big team in War Machine, but Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni beat Hanson & Rowe to stay together! Can the Kingpin and the Keg Master crush C2C like a couple of beer cans? Or will Ali & LSG ride the wave all the way to the top?

No Code of Honor given because Milonas & Bruiser go right at them with cheap shots! The bell rings but everyone’s still in as Bruiser puts Ali in a corner and Milonas brings LSG to another. The big hoss boys coordinate and go corner to corner, but run into boots from C2C. C2C hops up, they both jump, but they both get caught! Milonas & Bruiser sandwich Ali & LSG before throwing Ali away and bumping LSG of a buckle with Snake Eyes. LSG staggers back into Milonas’s tackle, then Bruiser gives a hollering elbow drop!

Cover, TWO, and Bruiser is already annoyed. Silas protests the count but Bruiser brings LSG over to his corner for a haymaker. Milonas tags in, and turns around to ram his king-sized backside into LSG over and over! Silas taunts LSG, “How did that feel, boy?” Bruiser tags in, he drags LSG up and scoops him. LSG slips out and dropkicks Bruiser into Milonas! Hot tag to Ali, and Ali rallies on the big men with forearms and headbutts! Bruiser gets a kick in and Ali staggers into Milonas, but Ali ducks to let Bruiser’s haymaker hit Milonas. Milonas goes down and Silas freaks out, but LSG comes in and together, hit Bruiser with the Half Nelson Complete Shot!

Cover, TWO! Ali keeps his focus on Bruiser and brings him up, but Bruiser fights back with back elbows. Bruiser shoves Ali to a corner then runs in, but Ali evades to retaliate with a swing kick. Ali snapmares Bruiser and prepares a kick, but Silas grabs his foot! Ali is anchored in place as Milonas runs in for a corner splash! Milonas backs off while Ali slips out, but the referee is busy keeping the protesting LSG in and Silas gets away with cheap shots. However, Kenny King comes in to even the numbers!

Silas slips into the ring and now it’s a chaotic brawl! The referee can’t do a thing, so he throws out the match! Silas and his bruiser buddies get out of the ring, leaving it to C2C and the K I N G. We go to break so ROH can sort this out.

 

Six Man Tag: Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS Kenny King & Coast 2 Coast!

We can tell how this match came about. The current ROH WTVC, Silas, and former champion, King, start for their teams. The bell rings, and King takes the fight right to Silas! But then their teammates come in and we have another six man brawl! Milonas throws LSG out but King slips behind and rocks him with the spinning roundhouse! Bruiser keeps Ali back while Milonas rolls out of the ring. King sees his target and fires up the fans before hitting Milonas with the slingshot corkscrew!

King topples Milonas down and takes his time to celebrate, but he turns around into Bruiser’s cannonball!

Bruiser gets up but C2C regroups! LSG fakes Bruiser and Milonas out, it’s Ali that FLIES!

The fans fire up but Silas hits LSG with the springboard lariat! Silas takes aim at everyone on the outside and fires himself up, then builds speed, but tumbles to the apron when he sees no one there. He boots King in the face from the apron, then catches Ali into a yurinagi on the apron!

King returns but gets rocked with a haymaker, Silas returns to the apron to slingshot double stomp Ail. Silas dares someone to come back in, but he doesn’t see LSG behind him. He turns around and gets LSG’s boot right to his face! LSG throws Silas out onto everyone, then starts climbing up top. However, Milonas returns and stops him halfway, then Bruiser also returns. Milonas drags LSG out and holds him up, Bruiser dropkick-starts the swinging sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Everyone returns to their corners as Milonas brings LSG back up. He tags Silas, Silas kicks LSG in the ribs. Silas takes off his shirt and throws it at LSG, LSG throws it back. Silas dares LSG to “hit me like a man!” So LSG slaps him across the face! Silas comes back and LSG hits him again with a forearm, so Silas hits LSG back with a forearm. They go back and forth with forearms, but Silas gets the edge and rocks LSG to his knees. “That’s how a man gets it done!” He brings LSG back up but LSG breaks free to swing on him. Silas suplexes but LSG slips out to tag Ali. Silas swings but misses LSG, who then springboards and forearms Silas down. Ali then grabs Silas for the big Complete Shot!

Cover, TWO! Ali drags Silas up and tags King. King and Silas brawl, King getting the edge. King whips and knocks Silas down with the spinning heel kick. He stalks Silas to ropes as the fans rally. Silas hides behind the ropes, but Bruiser comes in with a cheap shot clothesline on King. Milonas also comes in, and the three “real men” surround King. C2C protest and the ref tries to back them off, but Silas still rocks King with a knee right to the face. Then Bruiser and Milonas run in to sandwich King between their beer bellies!

C2C come in but get rocked by rights, then go at King again to squash him between their beer buttocks! Silas covers, TWO!! Kenny rolls away while C2C stands up. C2C baits Bruiser & Milonas, to dump them out! Silas gets up, he and Ali run at each other for a big double clothesline. Ali, Silas and King are all down, but LSG sees Milonas and Bruiser getting to their feet. The Human Rocket climbs up, takes aim, and hits the springboard Phoenix senton!

LSG takes Milonas & Bruiser down and the fans fire up! Silas brawls with Ali from the mat to their feet, back and forth like mad. Silas gets the edge because “You ain’t nothing, boy!” He runs, but into C2C’s double hip toss cradle, and King returns to make it Tu Lo ROYAL FLUSH!

King and C2C win! A big victory for all, can King make the Last Real Man #BendTheKnee in their ROH WTVC rematch?

 

The Dawgs are watching backstage.

Big Rhett asks if Lil’ Willie can see what’s going on, but clearly he can’t. Will Ferrara can’t stand that those two “dingle berries” Ali & LSG are getting the reaction they are. Rhett Titus tells him to calm down. Rhett’s been around ROH long enough, he’s “seen them come and seen them go.” Well right now, they’re here. Ferrara mocks the “Rocket Man, Rocket Man”, Tu Lo Sabes “You Know It”. He wants to “send them packing”! Titus agrees, C2C is gonna be sent packing, “courtesy of The Dawgs!” “Knick Knack Paddy Whack, give these dogs a BEER!” A lot of bark from Rhett & Ferrara, will their bite match up to it?

 

The ROH Women of Honor Tournament has its bracket!

Mandy Leon and Madison Rayne each speak on their paths to this historic tournament. The Exotic Goddess is a product of the ROH Dojo. She trained for five long years, and was a pioneer in creating this premier Women’s Division within ROH. Meanwhile, the Queen Bee knows that Women’s Wrestling around the world is bigger than it’s ever been. Women’s Wrestling is at the forefront of the industry, and now that WOH has firmly established itself, Mandy wants to fulfill a dream of becoming the inaugural WOH Champion. Madison knows that this 16-woman invitational is truly “history making”, and even humbling to be selected. Mandy won’t anyone in the field of 16 stand in her way, while Madison’s 10 year career validates her as a serious competitor.

Mandy will acknowledge Madison as a “world-class talent”, and knows Madison’s been a champion everywhere she’s gone, “but you haven’t been here.” The Exotic Goddess was a WOH “day one” wrestler. Being champion here is all Mandy has ever wanted. Madison knows all that, and gives Mandy “tremendous credit”, but Mandy seems to have forgotten Madison was already here years ago. Even though there was no WOH Division, ROH had women wrestlers, so it was Madison who laid the foundation. Madison wins titles, makes history, and belongs at the top. Mandy still declares that she will be the first WOH Champion. Can the Exotic Goddess’ dream survive the Queen Bee’s drive?

 

Deonna Purrazzo joins commentary for this next match.

The Virtuosa is another of the 16 women from around the world entering this historic tournament, so she has vested interest in the results. At the same time, she and Mandy were the two women in the first official WOH Division match, so perhaps she wants to cheer on her fellow pioneer so they can meet next round.

 

First WOH Championship Tournament Opening Round match: Madison Rayne VS Mandy Leon!

History begins here! Sixteen women will be whittled down to eight, who will be the first moving on and the first going home?

The Code of Honor is upheld and the two go to their corners as the bell rings. The fans already applaud this great match-up and build to a rally. Madison and Mandy circle then tie up. Mandy backs Madison into a corner, then honors the break. She and Madison tie up again, now Madison backs Mandy down. Madison also honors the break, and they go again. Madison gets the headlock, shifts to a hammerlock then back to the headlock. Mandy fights out and gets a headlock of her own. Madison powers out but Mandy knocks her down. Mandy poses then runs, rolls over but Madison rolls under to arm-drag Mandy down. Madison gets up but runs into Mandy’s arm-drag. The two back off and the fans applaud the back and forth. Mandy and Madison circle and the fans rally for them again. Madison lunges but Mandy slips behind to get a hammerlock, then slips back to the front for a snapmaer. Mandy starts running and hits Madison with a kick then comes back the other side for the neck snap.

Cover, TWO, but Mandy keeps going. Madison sweeps her legs, though, and covers, TWO. Madison uses a leg sweep to roll Mandy into a cover, TWO. They both stand up, Madison whips Mandy to the ropes, but now Mandy rolls Madion up on the return, TWO. Mandy keeps moving but Madision follows to SPEAR!

Mandy’s back up, so Madison knocks her down with a sharp enziguri! The Queen Bee has control while we go to break.

ROH returns and Madison keeps control as she hits Mandy with a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows within the five-time Impact Knockouts champion. They get up, Madison kicks Mandy then runs but misses the second. Mandy swings but Madison ducks and they both run for double facebusters! Both women are down and a ten count begins. They stir at 2, and get to opposite corners. They crawl to each other and then brawl on their knees. The brawl moves to their feet as Mandy headbutts and Madison replies with a forearm. Mandy replies with her own forearm, then catches Madison’s return with the downward spiral, into the Koji Clutch!

Madison endures and drags herself forward, then gets the ropebreak with her foot. Mandy lets go and Madison rolls out, but Mandy pursues. Mandy takes aim at Madison from the apron, and runs in for the Penalty Kick! But she’s not done there, Mandy runs back in for the cannonball!

The Exotic Goddess topples the Queen as the fans fire up. Mandy puts Madison back in the ring then rallies the fans as she climbs up top. Madison stands up, Mandy drops her with the missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Mandy’s own frustration grows, and she calls for the end. She grabs Madison for an underhook but Madison slips behind her, wristlock spin-out for the Rayne Check cutter!

Cover, TWO!? Madison can’t believe Mandy survived her signature move. She drags Mandy up, Mandy surprises her with an inside cradle, TWO. Madison hits Mandy with a forearm smash, then picks Mandy up for a Fisherman drop!

Cover, TWO!! Frustration boils over for Mandy, but the fans cheer for Mandy. Madison climbs up top while Mandy gets to her feet. Madison leaps, but Mandy gets clear out of the way of the flying crossbody. Mandy comes back and picks Madison up in the pumphandle package driver, Astral Projection!

Mandy wins! Her dream lives on with this possible bracket buster!

As for Madison Rayne…

Mandy turns to her opponent and the two shake hands and even hug. Madison raises Mandy’s hand in victory. Can the Exotic Goddess continue through to the end and become the one true Queen of Honor?

 

ROH has exclusive footage after Episode 333 went off air.

The American Nightmare finds The Young Bucks backstage. He’s upset, and demands to know where they were. They apologize for running late. Why were they running late? Was their flight coming in from Winnipeg? Is it “a Kenny thing”? Because the Bullet Club doesn’t need anymore “Kenny things” right now! “That’s over, that’s done with!” The fans were literally chanting for the Young Bucks out there while Cody was getting his ass kicked by The Kingdom! He points out his black eye and busted hand with no Ring of Honor. Matt Jackson apologizes again, they just arrived. Cody accepts that. “All I’m saying is, everybody wants us to break up.” The Bullet Club breaking up is good for everybody else, but he won’t allow that. Cody expects better from everyone, especially the Bucks. The Bucks scratch their heads and roll their eyes as Cody leaves, but then Marty comes in with a “sweet Marty Scurll sign.”

“Now’s not the time, man.” They don’t like it? No, they didn’t even spell his name right. Misspelling aside, is the Bullet Club just one wrong move away from breaking up?

 

The Briscoes speak.

Specifically, they speak to the Motor City Machine Guns. “Lemme explain something to y’all boys.” Jay & Mark have reached that point in their careers where they “don’t care about our opponents’ well being.” The Briscoes “don’t care if the people cheer for us.” All the Briscoes care about, “is making statements.” Mark agrees, because there’s “one statement in particular” they want to make: that they are “the baddest tag team to ever walk this planet!” Jay & Mark don’t care if they break bones, cripple opponents and make them get carted to the back. They don’t even care if you live or die. It’s nothing personal against MCMG, it’s personal against everyone. The Briscoes are on a war path, but the MCMG just happen to be the ROH World Tag Team Champions. Jay & Mark think of those as their property, so they’re coming to take them back. When it’s Sandy Fork VS Everybody, can anyone hope to survive #DemBoys?

 

Marty Scurll joins commentary.

While there is much to discuss about The Bullet Club, The Villain is here to focus on tonight’s main event. For it was last week that Scurll struck a deal with the challenger: if Martinez becomes the new ROH World Heavyweight Champion, he would allow Scurll the first shot at him.

 

ROH World Heavyweight Championship: Dalton Castle w/ The Boys VS Punishment Martinez!

The Reincarnation of the Purple Mist earned this chance at the ROH world title when he won Survival of the Fittest 2017. And when he came to tell The Peacock of his challenge, he did it with actions in the form of a sneak attack. Castle granted his challenge and thus we have this highly anticipated main event on ROH TV! Will the monster come away with the gold to then take on The Villain? Or will the Peacock reign supreme to roll on towards Honor Rising 2018?

Scurll rants about how he is “disgusted” with Castle being so full of himself, and even says Castle doesn’t deserve to be champion. However, that may only be because Castle defeated Cody, who is Scurll’s good friend within Bullet Club.

The fans chant “Fan up!” even before the bell. Castle offers the Code of Honor handshake, but Martinez shakes his head “No”. That’s fine by Castle, he fires himself and the fans up. Scurll rants and complains about the fact both Castle and Martinez received WHC title matches before him while Boy 2 gives Castle a certain something. Castle tells Martinez, “This is for you.” When Castle opens his hands, there’s nothing there, but a slap across Martinez’s face! Martinez grabs Castle and powers him back to a corner, then swings only for Castle to duck under and hit him back with a right hand. Castle chops, haymaker, chops and haymaker again, but Martinez shoves him back. Martinez swings but misses again, Castle goes for the waistlock but Martinez throws him right off. Martinez grabs Castle around the throat but Castle breaks free, to slap Martinez again. The monster gets mad, and glares at Castle as he chases him down, but Castle dumps Martinez out over the top rope. Martinez stays on his feet but Castle quickly builds speed and DIVES!

Castle sends Martinez rolling whiel the fans fire up and the Boys fan up. Martinez gets up quickly but Castle is right on him. Castle knocks him into the barriers along the walkway, then off the apron edge. The fans fire up for Castle, and he snaps his fingers. The Boys become steps, and Castle uses them to LEAP at Martinez!

But Martinez catches him! He goes to lift but Castle slips out and then shoves Martinez into a post! Martinez bounces off but manages to get back in the ring. The champion has control while we go to break.

ROH returns to see Castle grab Martinez in a waistlock. Martinez powers Castle back into a ring, which breaks the hold, but Castle reels him back into a new waistlock. They go backward again, and Martinez adds a back elbow to keep Castle back. Martinez runs back in but Castle boots him away. Castle hops up, but Martinez hits him with a spinning roundhouse! Castle topples down from the top rope and to the ground. Scurll laughs at The Peacock, even as The Boys “Fan up!” Martinez slips to the outside to fetch Castle, but as Martinez puts Castle in the ring, he swings around for headscissors. Martinez blocks the rest of the swing so Castle unleashes right hands. It’s not enough, though, as Martinez uses even more power to lift and Last Ride powerbomb Castle on the apron!

Scurll starts to reconsider his deal with the monster as he watches Castle writhe in pain. Martinez grins while the fans boo and jeer. Scurll critiques Martinez’s lack of urgency, even as Martinez rocks Castle with a right hand. The 20-count reaches 8 before Martinez puts Castle back in the ring. He toys with Castle as he stalks him to a corner. The fans cheer for Castle, even as Martinez whips him corner to corner hard. The Boys hurry to fan their leader before Martinez drags him back up. Martinez scoops Castle to then slam him down, to then hit a springboard senton!

Cover, TWO! Scurll complains that people should want him to be champion while Castle rolls out of the ring. The Boys fan him again, but Martinez comes out to scare them off. Castle pounces! He goes at Martinez with fire and fury, but Martinez snuffs it out with another right hand. Martinez waits for Castle to stagger back over before knocking him down with a SUPERKICK!

Martinez drags Castle up again, to then whip him hard into barriers. The fans boo and jeer again, but Martinez ignores them as he drags Castle up again. He goes to throw Castle but Castle gets loose. Castle hurries to get back in the ring, but he can’t get away, Martinez drags him out to throw him back into barriers. The referee comes out to get them to put this back in the ring, and Martinez obliges. He covers, TWO, but Martinez keeps hold of Castle while the fans start to rally. Martinez turns Castle around to put him in a chinlock while we go to break.

ROH returns once more, to find Martinez now on the defensive. Castle slinks back into the ring and grabs the dazed monster in a waistlock. Martinez elbows him away, then takes aim at Castle in a corner. He runs corner to corner and jumps for the big back elbow, but Castle catches him in the waistlock! Castle uses his super strength to carry Martinez out to the center, and hits the German Suplex pin! TWO! Even the Boys are feeling a bit of the exasperation. But Martinez suddenly sits up and grabs Castle by the throat! Castle fights against it and hammers Martinez to the mat. Scurll protests but the referee can’t hear him from all the way at the announce desk. Castle grabs Martinez in another waistlock and drags him up. Martinez powers out, then swings kick after kick and forearm, but Castle dodges them all to get another German Suplex! But Martinez springs right up again! He wobbles around, Castle catches him for an overhead suplex. Castle stands up while the Boys “Fan Up!” Martinez also rises, Castle runs in, but into Martinez’s clobbering right hand. Martinez drags Castle up, suplex for the Falcon Arrow!

Cover, TWO! The monster keeps his cool while the fans build back to a rally. Martinez drags Castle up while the fans chant, and prepares another powerbomb. Castle resists, goes to lift Martinez, but Martinez clubs him down. So Castle instead powers Martinez back into a corner! They separate, Castle runs in but into Martinez’s driving boot. Martinez walks it off while Castle slips out of the ring. The Boys “Fan Up!’ again, but Martinez spots them all gathered. He runs corner to corner to FLY!

He wipes out Castle and the Boys, then gets right up to put Castle back in the ring. Martinez climbs up and leaps for the spinning heel kick! TWO!! Martinez is shocked, and Scurll thought that was the end. The fans continue to cheer while Castle slowly stirs. Martinez goes to drag him up but Castle is out of it. He waits for Castle to rise, brings him up the rest of the way and gets the choke grip. Castle pries the hold off, but Martinez puts it back on, only for Castle to break it again, and rock Martinez with a back elbow. Martinez rocks Castle right back with a roundhouse, and Castle falls down in a heap while Scurll laughs again. That’s not all, Martinez brings Castle up for a rip-cord roundhouse! Castle drops to the mat again, eyes glazed over. Martinez drags him up a third time, and lifts him into a torture rack position. Castle revives to fight his way out, then rolls Martinez into a small package! Castle wins!! Martinez’s face shows shock and anger at being beat by only a split second.

He takes his frustrations out on a buckle pad, but that isn’t enough. Martinez goes after The Boys! He wipes Boy 2 out, then gives Boy 1 a choke slam onto the apron!

Martinez goes back for Boy 2, and powerbombs him onto his twin!

The fans boo and jeer as Martinez makes his exit. Scurll himself is also shocked, but the damage is done to The Boys. Will Martinez find his way back to a title shot? Will Castle’s Boys be okay to accompany him to Honor Rising?

 

My Thoughts:

A really great episode here, all in all. ROH put an interesting yet logical and entertaining twist on the opening tag team match. Kenny King helping Coast 2 Coast out against Silas’ trio was great given the story building between them for the ROH World TV Championship, and the Six Man was also really solid. Both teams looked great together, especially Milonas & Bruiser already working out some double-team moves. C2C continuing a feud with Bruiser & Milonas would be good for both teams, to help sort out who goes for ROH World Tag Team Championships first. Briscoes VS MCMG still has to happen, and #DemBoys had another great promo, but I’m going to assume the Faces VS Heels dynamic will be kept in the following program. In other words, Briscoes VS C2C and MCMG VS Bruiser & Milonas. The ROH World Six Man titles are also in question, as SoCal Uncensored already gets a shot against The Bullet Club’s Hung Bucks next episode. ROH is doing a great job integrating the building Bullet Club Civil War, so I’d imagine the only reason SCU wins is because of dysfunction on Bullet Club’s part rather than beating them cleanly.

There was a lot of anticipation for this ROH WOH Championship tournament, and I feel bad for saying this, but this opening match wasn’t as good as it could’ve or should’ve been. I’ve always liked Mandy Leon’s ROH run, and Madison Rayne has the résumé to be here, but there was a lot that could’ve/should’ve been more polished. I swear I saw Mandy let up on a pin half a beat too early for Madison’s “kick out.” Their promos were great, but being pre-taped probably means they were able to rehearse them to be on point. Logically, Mandy wins because she is, as her promo said, the pioneer of ROH’s official WOH and it will mean more if she lasts all the way to the end. The bracket is also set up so that she could end up facing either her old friend Jenny Rose, or WOH’s newest addition in Tenille Dashwood, for some real good story behind the match. But WOH match aside, the ROH WHC made up for it because it was some great stuff. Castle-Martinez were great in the ring and Scurll was great on commentary, but I had a feeling Castle would still win. Castle is too big a star to lose his first defense ever, even if it was against another rising star like Martinez.

My Score: 8/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE NXT Report! (2/14/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne VS Roderick Strong; Dunne wins and retains the WWE UK Championship.
  • TM61 VS John Skyler & Andrew Duckworth; TM61 wins.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler; Shayna wins by disqualification, Ember retains the NXT Women’s Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne VS Roderick Strong!

No need to wait, this highly anticipated crossover match starts NXT off! Can the British Bruiserweight hold on to his title when faced with the American Savior of the Backbreaker?

The bell rings and they tie up right away! Dunne powers Strong to ropes while the fans duel. Strong and Dunne spin around and end up in a corner, the ref calling for a break. The break is anything but clean, but the two cool off to circle again. Strong keeps Dunne from getting too close to ropes before they tie up again. They end up in another corner but then come right out. Dunne gets the armbar takedown but Strong gets right up to attempt a high stack cover, ONE, but Strong transitions into an attempt at his signature hold. Dunne resists and rolls to flip Strong, but both men are right back up on their feet. The fans applaud this evenly matched match while we go to break.

NXT returns to find Dunne in control of Strong. He brings Strong up and goes after the fingers. Dunne brings Strong’s arm down to the mat and bends it back, before kicking it!

Strong rolls out of the ring to give himself time but Dunne is right on him. Dunne bends that arm and teh fingers all over again, then brings them to the steel steps. He bends Strong’s arm again, then stomps on it!

The Bruiserweight is merciless as he stalks Strong around the corner. He grabs that arm again to bend it from wrist to elbow as he leads Strong all the way to the other steel steps. Dunne wedges Strong’s hand inside the gap between steps and post, then clubs the arm to twist it! The ring count is refreshed before Dunne keeps on Strong with a chop. He puts the arm back on the steps, but Strong pulls it out of the way in time. Strong then pulls Dunne off the steps to throw him into them!

Dunne falls to the ground while the referee checks on him. Both men are apparently okay to continue, so Strong brings Dunne into the ring. Cover, TWO, but he clobbers Dunne with low boot after boot. He grinds a knee into Dunne’s ribs, pulling him in add pressure. Dunne uses his legs to fight out, the fans duel as Strong staggers back. Strong returns and grabs Dunne again, for a pumphandle backbreaker!

Cover, TWO, but Strong keeps his cool. Dunne clutches his back as Strong brings him up into a corner. Strong chops Dunne, Dunne slaps Strong. Strong boots back and rocks Dunne, then brings him back up for yet another backbreaker. Dunne rolls to a corner but Strong won’t let up. Strong stomps a mudhole into Dunne, even as Dunne tries to fight back with finger manipulation. The fans duel as Strong brings Dunne up and to a corner. Strong hoists Dunne to the top rope then climbs up with him. He goes for a superplex but Dunne gets a hold of the fingers again. Dunne clubs and slaps Strong to the floor, then adjusts to jump and stomp Strong’s arm on the way down!

The referee checks on Strong but Strong won’t give up just because of that. He and Dunne get up onto the apron, Dunne runs over but into Strong’s boot! Strong continues with an enziguri, then a fireman’s carry, just to drop him on the apron!

The fans applaud the severity of this action while we go to break.

NXT returns again, and Strong stomps away on Dunne. He grabs for Dunne but Dunne scrambles to ropes. The ref counts the break, Strong backs off, and Dunne comes out with a stinging enziguri! Strong is dazed but still hits Dunne with back elbow and forward elbow. Now Dunne is a bit dazed as the fans rally. The two men slowly stand up, and Strong whips Dunne to a corner. Dunne goes up and over to enziguri Strong again, to then Falcon Arrow him into the armbar!

Strong rolls so Dunne adjusts into the hammerlock and stretch! Dunne even isolates fingers, before pulling back and letting it fling forward! Strong writhes in pain as Dunne gets himself to a corner. Dunne climbs up but Strong anchors a foot. Dunne fights him off but then Strong yanks him off the top into the cradling hold. However, Strong’s bad arm keeps him from holding Dunne up, so Dunne gets Strong in powerbomb position, for a swift sit-out!

TWO! Dunne’s back hurts too much for him to be frustrated. The two men stir with fans cheering them both on. Dunne stands up first as the fans duel again. He toys with Strong, then drags him up by that bad arm. Dunne bends the fingers but Strong powers Dunne into a corner. The buckle impact breaks the hold, and Strong gets space. He runs back in but misses, Dunne throws him back with a German Suplex. Dunne then hurries out and up, and jumps, only for Strong to dropkick him out of the air!

Strong crawls to a cover, TWO! It was a close call, but Dunne still got out. The fans rally for both men again as Strong pursues Dunne. Strong chops Dunne, then runs side to side for the forearm smash! He lifts Dunne but Dunne counters to a pin, TWO and Strong slips Dunne to a crucifix pin, TWO! Dunne jumps but Strong catches him into the cradling backbreaker!

Cover, TWO! The fans applaud as both men are down on the mat. The fans build back to a rally, then duel as the two men stand up again. Strong brings Dunne over for forearms and chops, then wants the Olympic Slam, but Dunne slips out to shove Strong into buckles. Dunne gets Strong on the rebound with a Half ‘n’ Half!

Dunne raises his fist, but rocks Strong with a swift kick, then covers! TWO! Both men are exhausted but the fans keep rallying for them. Dunne kicks Strong from the mat, then grabs that bad arm for teh triangle! Strong makes it a cover, Dunne fights back, so Strong deadlifts Dunne and brings him to ropes, for an elevated rope guillotine! Dunne slumps down against ropes, but he still gets himself under the bottom rope. The fans duel as Strong and Dunne get up on both sides of the ropes. Strong climbs a corner and brings Dunne over. He brings Dunne up to the top with him, but Dunne resists. Strong clubs Dunne in the back, then hits the SUPER Olympic Slam!!

The crash landing sends Dunne far away, Strong has to crawl to the cover, TWO!! Strong feels the frustration building as he and Dunne rest on the mat. The fans rally once more, and Strong goes over to Dunne. Dunne grabs the bad fingers, but Strong breaks the grip to then rock Dunne with a jumping knee strike! He runs at Dunne in a corner for another big knee strike! And then throws him with the running mat slam! Cover, TWO! Strong feels how close he is, but the fans hope they “Fight Forever!” He brings Dunne back up, prepares a suplex but Dunne hits the X-Plex outta nowhere!

He’s not done there, he grabs Strong in the pumphandle, but Strong slips out of the Bitter End! Strong forearms, back elbows then throws more elbows from both sides. Dunne catches Strong with a forearm to the back of the head! But this only gives Strong the momentum for a running knee! Strong grabs Dunne in the double underhook, and hits a tigerbomb! TWO, but Strong rolls Dunne for the Strong Hold!

However, that bad hand makes it tough to hold it. Dunne manages to roll it back and grabs the bad hand. He snaps the fingers! Strong flies back in pain and tumbles out of the ring! Dunne grins as he gets up and kicks Strong on reentry. Then, Bitter End!!

Dunne wins! The UK Championship stays with the UK superstar! What will it take to dethrone the Bruiserweight from his championship throne?

 

Johnny Gargano raised the stakes on himself in regards to the NXT Championship.

Even though he went into NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia “the most confident” he’s ever been in his career, he did not defeat El Idolo. However, what he earned that night meant even more to him than a title, “Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling” earned the NXT Universe’s love and respect. But in an attempt to add insult to injury, Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega came out to denounce everything Gargano said. Respect? Who cares! The championship is still theirs, and Almas has defeated Gargano in a 3-0 sweep. Gargano isn’t Johnny Wrestling, he’s “Johnny Loser.” Gargano reminded Vega of the hand she played in that match, as well as what Mrs. Wrestling, Candice LeRae, did to her in return. And when Vega started getting in Gargano’s face, Candice appeared! Mr. & Mrs. Wrestling then ran Almas & Vega off, and it pissed Vega off so much that she granted Gargano a rematch, but on one condition: if Gargano loses this time, he LEAVES NXT! Johnny Wrestling accepted the challenge, but will he come to regret it?

 

NXT Paparazzi caught up with Velveteen Dream.

The Patrick Clark Experience opens by saying he refuses to answer questions regarding Kassius Ohno. Secondly, he addresses his coming match with No Way Jose. “No Way Jose brings the Fiesta, The Dream will bring The Experience. That’s all.” But not really, as he now addresses Tyler Bate of the WWE UK Division. A former UK Champion at only “five foot nothing”, yet Bate sees himself as a big enough star to wrestle Dream 1v1? They ask if he could elaborate. Is he saying he’ll give Bate a match? He refuses to comment, and tells them to get out of the way. The NXT media still has a lot to ask Dream, but that will have to be for another time.

 

Aleister Black heads to the ring.

While the Embodiment of The End is still on a dominant 1v1 streak, he isn’t here to make someone #FadetoBlack. He walks to the ring to an ovation from the fans, and wishes to speak. “This path has always led one way.” It has put Aleister “face to face with a sensation, led to an Experience, and pushed my limits in the face of an Era.” But now Aleister has a “devil” on his back. That devil drives Aleister, because “that devil is the NXT Championship!” Aleister must possess that title. However, a certain Beast of Belfast appears!

Equally dominant in his own right, Killian Dain is here to make his presence known. He joins Aleister in the ring to speak his mind. “The devil isn’t on your back. I am!” And Dain will not stop until the NXT Championship is around his waist. But if Aleister has a problem with what he’s saying, then Dain will warn him: “Your path will be stopped by chaos.” The two stare down, but Aleister is not intimidated. Dain goes to leave when Aleister calls his name. Aleister continues by walking up to Dain, and saying, “You crossed me, so now you must Fade to Black.” Dain grins, liking Aleister’s moxie. Dain leaves all the same, and the two stare down one more time as Dain reaches the stage. What will happen when order and chaos collide on the road to the title?

 

TM61 VS John Skyler & Andrew Duckworth!

Shane Thorne & Nick Miller are back to continue proving The Mighty Don’t Kneel. Can they also prove that The Mighty Deserve Championships with another win?

The bell rings and Miller starts against “The Southern Savior” Skyler. They tie up, spin around and end up at the ropes. Skyler lets go, only to chop Miller at the ropes. Miller fires off forearms fast, then chops Skyler in return. He whips Skyler and knocks him down with a forearm, then chops him in the Mighty corner before tagging Thorne in. Miller whips Thorne in for a big back elbow, then comes in for a corner clothesline of his own. Then he feeds Skyler to Thorne’s lariat! Duckworth rushes in but gets a back suplex from Thorne. Thorne goes after Skyler with a running European Uppercut, then goes for a suplex, but Skyler blocks and kicks at that repaired leg! Skyler clubs Thorne into his corner, then tags Duckworth in. Duckworth and Skyler mug Thorne in their corner, then Duckworth goes for a back suplex of his own. Thorne slips out, shoves Duckworth, then dropkicks him on the rebound. Tag to Miller, tag to Skyler, but it’s Miller who rallies! He knocks Skyler down, sees Duckworth coming and puts the bigger man into an open corner. Miller suplexes but Skyler slips out and around. Miller throws a back elbow but Skyler ducks it, only to end up in a DDT! Duckworth runs back out, but into Miller’s spinebuster!

Miller tags Thorne while Duckworth and Skyler end up in the same corner, Thorne leaps for a big cannonball sandwich!

The fans fire up as The Mighty pick Skyler up, and hit him with Thunder Valley!

TM61 wins! Miller & Thorne are on a roll, can they roll right up to the Undisputed Era’s NXT Tag Team Championships?

 

NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler!

The Prophecy of Flame may be the #Shenom, but she was still tested like no other against the Queen of Spades. However, Shayna’s claims that Ember only survived rather than won got under the champion’s skin, so this rematch was granted to put the rumors to rest! Can NXT’s War Goddess remain on top against the merciless Submission Magician?

It should be noted that Ember still has Kinesio Tape on her left arm. She may be medically cleared, but is that tape going to be nothing more than a bullseye for her opponent?

The bell rings and Ember dropkicks Shayna in the face immediately! She keeps going, hammering away on the “bully” Baszler. Shayna takes it and goes after the bad arm! Ember slips away, kicking Shayna on the mat. Ember throws more hammer fists and Shayna grabs at the bad arm for a Kimura, but Ember still narrowly escapes. Shayna sits up, and Ember kicks her square in the shoulder! The rage does not subside, Ember keeps hammering away on Shayna. She brings Shayna up just to knee her back down, then stalks Shayna to ropes. The fans cheer as Ember kicks and clubs away at Shayna, but the referee counts. He backs Ember down, but Ember still rocks Shayna with an enziguri! Ember roars as fans fire up, and boots Shayna right in the chest!

Shayna is uncharacteristically on the defense and down on the mat as Ember goes to a corner. Ember climbs, and we know what that means. She takes aim, but Shayna sees her rising, so she slips out of the ring. Ember watches Shayna catching her breath on the outside, so she hops down to build speed and DIVE!

Both women crash into the announce desk, and that unfortunately aggravates Ember’s bad arm! She writhes and screams in pain while the fans chant “NXT! NXT!” The referee also checks on Shayna, and she is still okay to compete. A ring count begins and gets past 7 before Shayna gets up and over to Ember. The count gets to 8 as Shayna puts Ember back in the ring, and this match continues. Shayna goes after that bad arm with a kick, then lets her hair down as her frustration boils up. She tortures Ember with a seated double wristlock. Ember endures and refuses to quit, so Shayna bends that arm back and stomps on it!

She isn’t done, she grabs Ember’s arm and goes for the cross armbreaker, but Ember quickly clasps her hands. The fans cheer Ember on, and Ember rolls Shayna like back in TakeOver: Philadelphia! TWO, and Shayna grins, telling Ember it won’t end like that again. She kicks that bad arm, then tries the cross armbreaker again. Ember again clasps her hands to hold it off, but can’t hold on, Shayna gets the full extension! Shayna even adds on a wristlock twist! Ember endures and drags herself around with her legs, and manages the ropebreak by a toe! The ref counts, Shayna lets go at 3, but then comes right back. Ember holds onto the rope but Shayna pries her away to then drag her by her hair. Ember surprises Shayna with a victory roll! TWO! Shayna gives Ember a knee, then throws her into a post! Ember tumbles all the way out and to the ground. Shayna walks around and catches her breath while the ring count begins. Champion’s Advantage prompts her to fetch Ember, but not without adding on a little extra. She exposes the barriers and threads Ember’s bad arm through the gaps, to then stomp away without resistance!

Shayna then shifts to pulling on Ember’s arm with the barrier between them! The referee comes out to count, Shayna lets go to keep from being disqaulified. Ember gets free of the guard rail, but Shayna grabs her arm again, torturing it with how she bends it. But then, coming in from the crowd, it’s the Pirate Princess, Kairi Sane! She climbs up the steel steps and jumps at Shayna for a flying forearm!

Kairi gets payback on Shayna for her sneak attack weeks ago, both physically and in that the match is disqualified! Ember will retain her championship! Kairi keeps going as she hammers more forearms into Shayna, then pursues her into the ring. Shayna swings on Kairi but Kairi evades to rally on the Queen of Spades! Every time Shayna gets up, Kairi knocks her down. She knocks Shayna out of the ring, but dares her to come back for more. However, Kairi makes the mistake of checking on Ember, and Shayna slips back into the ring! Shayna rushes Kairi but she’s ready for it, and hits Shayna with the Interceptor Spear!!

The fans are thunderous for the Mae Young Classic winner, and she’s still fired up to fight Shayna. Shayna isn’t as eager, she backs down. Shayna wins the match but we know Ember retains, will the controversy only delay the inevitable? And as Kairi stares down her MYC opponent, will Shayna have to get through her to try again?

 

My Thoughts:

A pretty great episode of NXT here. I was surprised but not at all disappointed with having the WWE UK Championship match first. This was an amazing match, Strong looked strong and it really bolsters Dunne’s own strength for him to win. Of course, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion that an American wrestler wasn’t going to win the UK Championship just yet, but maybe even for just a second it felt like Strong could’ve done it. There’s still a lot WWE needs to do to show their commitment to the UK title and its Division, but as long as we’re getting great matches while we wait, I can be patient. The crossover work helps, such as how Velveteen Dream is taking issue with Tyler Bate. I don’t doubt Dream VS Bate will make for a great program and match, I’m just not sure where it’ll lead either man afterward. However, Aleister VS Damo definitely will lead to an NXT Championship down the way. I can’t see Aleister losing in singles competition just yet, but their match result may depend on next week’s Almas VS Gargano NXT Championship match. There are a lot of variables and moving pieces with the NXT Championship, I’ll likely be pleased by any of the outcomes.

When I saw TM61 coming out for their match, I was a bit concerned about the timing, considering we still had the NXT Women’s Championship match to go. In the end, it was a fast match, putting the returning Skyler and the debuting Duckworth away easily. With the Authors of Pain still in NXT but feeling on their way out to the main roster, TM61 should be the ones to challenge reDRagon next. Then in the NXT Women’s Championship, it was shorter and ends in “controversy”, but it was still solid work from everyone. Ember and Shayna play their characters perfectly, the angry “underdog” champion giving the arrogant upstart challenge a small taste of her own medicine, only for Shayna to get the better of Ember. I almost thought we were getting a referee stoppage to give Shayna the belt, a la Kevin Owens pummeling Sami Zayn until he couldn’t fight. Instead, Kairi Sane makes the save! Kairi and Shayna have unfinished business, but they both want to be champion, so I would hope that while Ember is grateful for the save, she and Kairi keep a competitive tension between them. In fact, I would love if it somehow becomes an NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat for TakeOver: New Orleans to really make Wrestlemania Weekend something to watch.

My Score: 8.5/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Report! (2/13/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Fifth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Akira Tozawa VS Mark Andrews; Andrews wins and advances to the second round.
  • Sixth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak; Gulak wins and advances to the second round.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Cruiserweight Championship tournament’s opening round hits the halfway point.

Cedric Alexander, TJP, Kalisto and the shocking entry of Roderick Strong have all advanced to the second round. Now we begin the second half to see which other four superstars will join them. Another former Cruiserweight Champion will battle a member of the WWE’s United Kingdom Division, and PowerPoint pals will be forced to put their friendship aside. But in the end, they all want one thing: to win the vacated Cruiserweight Championship as a Wrestlemania Moment!

 

Fifth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Akira Tozawa VS Mark Andrews!

The Stamina Monster once dethroned the King of the Cruiserweights to become champion, while the High-Fiving, Stage-Diving Welshman would like his first taste of WWE gold period. Will Tozawa keep out the crossover competitor on this Road to Wrestlemania?

Quick backstage interview with Mark Andrews.

What does it mean to him to come all the way from the UK to compete for this opportunity tonight? He’s really excited because everyone from around the world, from the UK to Japan, have been talking about 205 Live. Andrews is psyched to be part of it now, to high-five and stage-dive all the way to the Grandest Stage of Them All: Wrestlemania! Especially if it means he can become the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.

Andrews makes his entrance and we have our match.

The two circle with the bell, and Tozawa starts up the “HAH! HAH!” battle cry. He and Andrews tie up, Tozawa gets the waistlock. They circle around, Andrews gets the headlock takeover but Tozawa gets the headscissors. Andrews holds onto the headlock and the two stand up, but then Tozawa rolls and floats over to a cover, TWO. The two stand off, and the fans applaud. Tozawa and Andrews circle again, Andrews getting the single leg takedown into a knee wrench toehold. Andrews deepens the bend and twist with a toe ‘n’ ankle while keeping the other leg down. 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick watches backstage as Tozawa works to free that trapped leg.

Andrews keeps twisting and Tozawa keeps enduring. Tozawa crawls for ropes but Andrews drags him away to add on another twist. Andrews keeps Tozawa grounded, but Tozawa gets free, so Andrews stands up to wrench the arm and wrist. Tozawa rolls and reverses the hold, starting up the “HAH! HAH!” at the same time. Tozawa spins Andrews to a waistlock, but Andrews spins out to reverse the armlock. Andrews grounds Tozawa again, and then wraps Tozawa up in an Octopus Stretch!

He bends the free arm back and back, looking up at the Wrestlemania sign for motivation. Tozawa starts working his way out, but Andrews easily shifts into a sunset flip, TWO! They get up, Andrews arm-drags Tozawa a couple times, but Tozawa blocks the third with pure strength. Tozawa brings Andrews back up, Andrews slips around him and gets that arm-drag hat trick! They both get back up, Tozawa kicks in low. He runs, Andrews ducks and Tozawa jumps over for the sunset flip, but Andrews back-flips out of it into a low dropkick! Cover, ONE, but Andrews keeps his cool. He stomps Tozawa, then drags him back up. Tozawa frees himself and chops Andrews stiff in the chest. Andrews chops back, and we have a chop fight. They go back and forth, Tozawa fakes a chop to get the jab!

Andrews staggers to a corner and Tozawa comes over to stomp a “HAH! HAH!” mudhole into him. The fans join in, even as Tozawa backs off at the ref’s count. He brings Andrews up and out for a snapmare, then runs for the Penalty Kick and back senton! Cover, TWO, but Tozawa keeps his cool. He goes after Andrews in a seated abdominal stretch, giving Andrews a taste of his own medicine. Andrews slips out but is brought back down, and Tozawa stomps on Andrews. They go to a corner and Tozawa brings Andrews up for more chops. Tozawa ax handles Andrews a couple times, then snapmares him into another form of the seated abdominal stretch. Fans slowly build to a rally and Andrews pries himself free again. Andrews fights back with forearms, one after another, and Tozawa sits down. Andrews brings him back up for a European Uppercut, but Tozawa knees low. Tozawa throws Andrews, but Andrews responds with a surprise 619!

Andrews takes aim while Tozawa staggers away, and springboards for a big flying crossbody!

Cover, TWO, and now Andrews feels some frustration. He kicks Tozawa while he’s down, then puts Tozawa’s leg back in the spinning toehold. Andrews now puts Tozawa in the Indian Deathlock to go right after the knees.

Tozawa endures, then chops Andrews in the chest. Andrews chops back while maintaining the hold. When Tozawa refuses to tap, Andrews stands up and pulls him out of the hold to go back after the arms. Andrews moves back into the Octopus Stretch but Tozawa resists stronger this time, letting out the “HAH! HAH!” Tozawa gets free, fights back with back elbows, but Andrews backs him down with kicks to the leg. Andrews whips but Tozawa reverses, Tozawa gets Andrews in the huricanrana! Then he hits Andrews with a screaming Shining Wizard!

Tozawa doesn’t stop there, he puts Andrews in position and with fans echoing “HAH! HAH!”, Tozawa climbs up up top. He takes aim, but Andrews slips out of the ring. Tozawa doesn’t complain, he just hops down and builds speed to DIVE!

The Tozawa Torpedo downs Andrews and the fans fire up. Tozawa puts Andrews back in the ring, covers, TWO! Frustration won’t stop Tozawa, he gets up and drags Andrews back over to a corner. The fans “HAH! HAH!” again as Tozawa climbs back up top. Tozawa takes aim again but Andrews stands up. Andrews runs over, Tozawa jumps over, and they both go corner to corner for Andrews to hit double knees in a corner! Then he brings Tozawa out for the Northern Lights suplex, and Andrews rolls through for a standing corkscrew moonsault!

TWO, and Andrews feels frustration growing. He catches his breath and cools off before bringing Tozawa back up. Andrews grabs Tozawa in a full nelson, but Tozawa arm-drags out of it. Tozawa back kicks, swings, slips under, blocks and hits the saido suplex! He crawls to a cover, TWO! Tozawa gets up again and brings Andrews up for big forearms. He “HAH! HAH!” with each one as he drops Andrews to a knee, then roars before running into Andrews’ mule kick. Andrews kicks Tozawa again, then runs only to run into Tozawa’s boot! Tozawa runs, Andrews slips past him, comes back to tilt-o-whirl into Stun Dog Millionaire! Cover, TWO! Both men are down from exhaustion, but Tozawa rolls himself away slowly. Andrews sits up and sees Tozawa in the corner. He walks over to hoist Tozawa up, keeping him there with a chop. Andrews climbs up, goes for the Super Steiner, but Tozawa blocks with more of that strength! Tozawa lifts Andrews up powerbomb style, but Andrews hits SUPER STEINER after all!

He crawls to the cover, TWO!! The frustration boils over, Andrews can’t believe that didn’t work. But he sees Tozawa in position, and hurries to the corner again. Andrews climbs up and takes aim at Tozawa. Shooting Star, but he has to bail out as Tozawa evades! Tozawa hits the spinning roundhouse! Tozawa goes for La Mahistrol, but Andrews counters with his own cover! ANDREWS WINS!!

And Tozawa’s face says it all, this is a major surprise!

It was fast and it was fair, there’s no way around it. Andrews points to Tozawa to give props and respect, but he also points to the Wrestlemania sign. Can Andrews make it all the way to the end and become a crossover Cruiserweight Champion?

 

Backstage interview with Jack Gallagher.

Gentleman Jack will face the Pakistani Prince, Mustafa Ali, next week as part of the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament’s opening round. And he’s absolutely delighted to hear it. However, before he can continue, 205 Live GM Drake Maverick enters.

Spud says hello to Dasha then compliments Gallagher’s suit. “John Phillips, London. I have two myself.” That aside, Spud questions Gallagher thinking that’s “appropriate attire in a WWE ring.” Because Maverick doesn’t. As he told others before, this is a new 205 Live. Next week, Gallagher better be here in proper wrestling attire. Spud does say Gallagher is one of the best in the Cruiserweight Division today, and perhaps even in the entire WWE. “So sort yourself out, mate.” Spud says bye to Dasha before taking his leave, leaving Gallagher with much to consider. Will Gallagher be seen back in his old trunks again starting next week?

 

205 Live announces next week Cruiserweight Championship Tournament matches.

The Privileged Persian Lion will take on “NXT’s Best Kept Secret”, Buddy Murphy!

A former NXT Tag Team Champion as well as fiance to the Goddess of Raw, Murphy does admit that losing the tag titles brought him crashing down in the ranks. However, he pulled himself up and looked himself in the mirror to say, “That’s who I was. Now it’s time to create who I’m going to be.” Spud gave him the call and that sparked a fire in Murphy to get back in championship shape. Training to get under 205 has been “the hardest thing I’ve possibly ever done in my life”, especially since he’s normally competed over that weight. Spud even went to the Performance Center to hold Murphy’s official 205 Live Cruiserweight Division weigh-in. Murphy stepped up to the scale, and his official weight…

At 204.4 lbs, Murphy narrowly makes it in! But that was just step one. Murphy vows that in step two, the Cruiserweight Championship tournament itself, he will step over everyone else to “walk down the ramp at Wrestlemania.” Can the Best Kept Secret break out into the best spotlight of them all?

 

Sixth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak!

Though friends under “Team PowerPoint” and a certain certified train, the Philly Fury and the Premier Athlete were each cut to the heart with comments from the 205 Live GM. Tonight they battle to not only see who is the better, but who is more deserving of the Cruiserweight Championship. Will their friendship become stronger, or crumble apart, with gold on the line?

The bell rings and the two circle with intensity in their eyes. Gulak offers a handshake of respect, but Nese kicks it away. Nese is too focused on the title for there to be friendship and respect, so Gulak just comes at him to grapple. Nese powers Gulak down to the mat, then flexes to show off the peaks. Gulak gets up and they circle again. Nese lunges but Gulak catches him with a shoulder to the abs, then a takedown. Gulak floats over to an armlock, then a chinlock that grinds and thrashes Nese to the mat. Nese rolls and covers, Gulak bridges at ONE. Gulak brings Nese back up to a deep neck wrench then a forearm grinding on the face. Nese gets up, takes Gulak down and goes for a toehold but Gulak quickly counters and shifts to an armbar, which Nese quickly blocks by clasping hands. The referee gets down low to check shoulders while Nese tries to power Gulak to a cover. Gulak counteracts with a palm on Nese’s face. Nese gets to his feet and grabs a leg but Gulak uses the other leg to sweep and then get the mount. He pushes Nese back to a cover, ONE, and Nese stands up to go after Gulak’s leg again. Nese drags Gulak and goes for a half-crab, but Gulak kicks him away with his free leg.

Nese staggers to a corner while Gulak gets up. Gulak runs in for a big running haymaker, then he whips Nese corner to corner. Nese stops himself short and back elbows Gulak away, to then jump up and jump back! Gulak gets under the corner moonsault, but Nese lands on his feet. Gulak runs at Nese but Nese Matrix handsprings to evade. Nese mule kicks Gulak then kene lifts, roundhouses and sweeps, cover, TWO! The fans applaud this exchange even as Nese stomps and kicks Gualk while he’s down. Gulak stares up at him defiantly so Nese keeps kicking. Nese brings Gulak up and goes for a suplex but Gulak body shots back. Gulak goes to hip toss, but Nese blocks and rolls Gulak to the mat. Nese puts Gulak’s legs in a sort of Figure Four while also trapping an arm in a unique combination of holds.

Gulak endures this unique submission, and fans actually rally for him! Nese rolls him to a cover, TWO, but Nese keeps on him by throwing him out of the ring. Nese takes aim, slingshots over, but Gulak moves so Nese lands on the apron. Gulak rushes Nese to sweep the legs but Nese cartwheels over to land on the ground and rock Gulak with a left forearm!

Gulak falls down and Nese leaves him out there, but then Gulak gets right back up to drag Nese right back out. Nese ducks the clothesline to throw in a kick, but Gulak blocks to put the leg on the apron to back suplex Nese to the ground!

Nese hits with a thud as the ref starts a ring count. Gulak gets in but Nese only writhes as the count gets to 5. The count climbs and Gulak seems satisfied to accept this, but then he sees Nese get up. Nese beats that count but Gulak is right on him, covers, ONE. Gulak clubs Nese then springboard stomps on him from both sides. Gulak grabs Nese’s leg and DDT’s the foot into the mat to jam the ankle. Cover, TWO, but Gulak shifts right into an armlock on Nese’s dominant left arm. Nese endures, and wills his way back up. He fights back with body shots, but Gulak rams a knee into his head. Gulak runs, but Nese blasts him with a running back elbow! Both men are down, but Nese drags himself to ropes. Gulak walks over but Nese blocks the punches to counter punches. Gulak keeps trying, but now Nese hits him with a cravat knee strike, then runs for a boot to the mouth! Nese keeps going, getting the staggered Gulak with the windmill kick! Gulak goes down but fans fire up with Nese. Nese runs into the corner and hits Gulak with a spinning back elbow! He keeps going, and brings Gulak down with a leaping lariat!

Cover, TWO! The frustration builds but Nese brings Gulak up and around. He wants a pumphandle but Gulak elbows out. Gulak whips but Nese slips under to pumphandle after all! But Gulak slips out and shoves Nese to ropes, then jumps but Nese shoves him down! Cover, TWO! The two men are exhausted but still stirring. Fans build to a rally for both men, Gulak hits Nese with a body shot but then Nese lifts Gulak in a fireman’s carry, for a gutbuster drop!

Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows. Nese glares down at Gulak, then drags him up again. Gulak fights back with body shots and a shove, but Nese rocks him with another left forearm. Nese runs but Gulak follows and responds with a dropkick! Gulak grabs Nese for a wicked single-leg suplex!

Cover, TWO! Gulak is surprised, but he actually grins. He dares Nese to get up for more, but Nese fights back with lefts and rights. Nese staggers Gulak again, then kicks him while he’s down. Now Nese dares Gulak get up as he keeps kicking and kicking. Nese roars, but Gulak grabs him by the beard! Gulak slaps Nese across the face again and again! Then Gulak shovels Nese up onto his shoulders, for the Electric Chair Drop!

Bridging cover, TWO!! Nese crawls to the ropes, but Gulak stalks him from behind. Gulak grabs Nese into the guillotine, with body scissors!

Nese endures the squeeze, tries to power out and reach ropes, but Gulak grabs that reaching hand to bring it back in. However, Nese turns that wristlock around into his own, so that he can suplex Gulak up. Gulak resists and brings himself down to land on the apron. The ref calls for a ropebreak, but instead, Gulak tries to suplex Nese to the outside! Nese lands, and breaks free. He swings a kick but Gulak blocks, so Nese sweeps the legs, falling Gulak to the apron! Gulak tumbles down, Nese builds speed, to FLY!

The Premier Athlete brings Gulak down in clear defiance of #Drewtopia rules. Not only that, but Nese puts Gulak in the ring to climb to the top rope! Nese jumps for the 450, but flops when Gulak rolls away! Gulak hurries up to his feet, goes for the dragon sleeper, but Nese slips out and under, pumphandle into the Michinoku Driver!

TWO!! Somehow Gulak survives, and Nese’s frustration builds again. Both men slowly stir as the fans build to a rally. Nese stands up but Gulak hits first with headbutts to the ribs. Gulak rushes in but into Nese’s knee. Nese brings Gulak over to a corner, and gives him a reverse powerbomb into the top buckle. Gulak is dazed as Nese waits down below. Nese rolls Gulak, but Gulak has that arm, so Nese deadlifts Gulak to powerbomb him all the way into the adjacent corner’s buckles!

Gulak is down, but Nese gets himself up. He wills himself to stand up while Gulak is still dazed. The knee pad comes down, Nese runs to the other corner and back, but Gulak avoids the Premier Kneese by rolling out of the ring. Nese goes out to fetch Gulak, but Gulak springs to life to resist. Nese still slaps Gulak across the face, then puts him into the ring. Gulak grits his teeth and his eyes fill with fire as he blasts Nese off the apron and to the announce desk! Now Nese is dazed as he falls to the floor. The referee has to check on Nese, which gives Gulak time to recover in the ring. Gulak won’t let Nese get off easy, shouting at him, “We finish what we start!” He throws Nese into the side of the announce desk! The referee reprimands Gulak but Gulak keeps going, throwing Nese even harder into the announce desk!

He puts Nese into the ring, then glares up at the Wrestlemania sign before reentering the ring. Gulak runs, to flip Nese upside-down with a lariat! The referee tells Gulak to stay back as he checks on Nese, but Gulak refuses! He picks Nese right up to throw him right back down with a powerbomb!

And then deadlifts him for another! The referee checks on Nese again as Gulak roars. Gulak drags Nese up, for the Gu-Lock Dragon Sleeper, complete with body scissors!

The referee calls it, Nese is out cold! Gulak wins, but he’s still burning with rage aimed at the Premier Athlete.

Perhaps Nese regrets not accepting the handshake at the start now, because it might have gained him so mercy here tonight. With this new fire lit inside him, can Gulak rip his way through the tournament and become the new Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania?

 

My Thoughts:

A damn good episode right here. The opening package was great and the quick interview with Andrews just before going out was also great. The best thing about the tournament these last couple weeks has been the surprise factor, where the win goes to the unexpected choice. I was pleasantly surprised last week when still-NXT-superstar Roderick Strong won, and I am again pleasantly surprised when WWE UK superstar Mark Andrews won tonight. The Cruiserweight Division has been needing a bit of crossover with other Divisions, so starting small like this is actually a very big thing. The best Andrews could do, in my estimation, is get to the semi-finals, but depending on how the bracket works out (still haven’t seen one from WWE) he might be used to help bolster one of the other favorites. He might even face the winner of the other match from tonight, in the incredible rough and tumble main event. Before that, I also enjoyed Spud now getting on Gallagher’s case in terms of his misuse of character. If it means Gallagher returns to his rainbow-striped trunks, I’m actually kinda for this continued reprimanding of the Heel Cruiserweights. Then, that main event, WOW. Great in-ring stuff with even greater character development. Commentary did a great job reminding us of the back story here without mentioning Enzo. I loved it when Gulak slapped Nese again and again, very much like what Oney Lorcan in NXT would do. There was a great visual aesthetic with Nese and Gulak, too, with the red vs blue, a classic trope of opposites that still parallel and rival each other (just look at Raw and SmackDown). I imagine this might’ve been what their blow-off would’ve been like had the ‘Zo Train finished the way it was meant to. Either way, Gulak himself might not make it to the semifinals but he and whoever he’s up against will put on great matches in the coming rounds.

My Score: 8.5/10

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