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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (2/5/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Fourth Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Roman Reigns VS Bray Wyatt; Reigns wins and enters the Elimination Chamber match.
  • Finn Balor w/ The Balor Club VS Dash Wilder w/ Scott Dawson; rescheduled as…
  • Finn Balor & Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows VS The Revival; Balor Club wins.
  • Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali VS Drew Gulak & Tony Nese; Alexander & Ali win.
  • Asuka VS Bayley; Asuka wins.
  • Fifth Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: The Miz w/ The Miztourage VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide; Miz wins and will enter the Elimination Chamber match.
  • WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: The Bar VS Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan; changed into…
  • WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: The Bar VS Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns; The Bar wins by disqualification, and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
  • Nia Jax VS Vanessa Floyd; Nia wins.
  • Sonya Deville w/ Absolution VS Mickie James; Mickie wins.
  • Triple Threat: Braun Strowman VS John Cena VS Elias; Elias wins and will officially enter the Elimination Chamber last.

PLAY BY PLAY

Bray Wyatt speaks.

“The Elimination Chamber is upon us!” Last year, Bray Wyatt won the WWE Championship in the match, and now he wishes to repeat. The only person in his way is his arch-nemesis, Roman Reigns! Roman has fallen so far that no one recognizes him. But Bray does. Roman lost the Royal Rumble, he lost the Intercontinental Championship yet he fakes his bravado. Bray knows the truth: Roman is a failure simply waiting to be “put out of his misery.” Bray will happily oblige. Tonight, the bottom of Roman’s spiral “holds something far worse than failure: me.”

Roman Reigns responds.

He’s some failure? Roman knows what failure really is: someone who can’t deal with adversity. He’s ahd his share of ups and downs but he’s no failure, that’s “them ark of a great journey.” ROman’s journey runs through the Chamber and “smashes into Suplex City”! Bray can’t stop Roman, the Chamber can’t stop Roman, and not even Brock Lesnar can stop Roman from becoming Universal Champion.

 

Fourth Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Roman Reigns VS Bray Wyatt!

Raw starts off with a major match as the Big Dog and the Eater of Worlds tie up once more! Which man will add another notch in this resurrected rivalry on their trip down the Road to Wrestlemania?

The bell rings and the two familiar foes circle. They tie up, and Bray powers Roman to a corner. He lets go and dares Roman to come at him. Roman runs out, they tie up again but Bray knees low to wrap on a headlock. Roman powers out then pursues to run Bray over with a shoulder. The fans have mixed reactions while Roman brings Bray up into his own headlock. Bray fights out and powers out, but misses in the corner, to lean back in his spider-walk.

“You are no match for me, Roman Reigns!” Bray boots Roman and hops up but Roman rocks him with an uppercut. Roman hauls Bray off the top rope in the fireman’s carry but Bray fights out. Bray dodges Roman to send him into the post! He then drags Roman back out, and rocks him with forearms. Cover, TWO, but Bray is not deterred. WOKEN Hardy watches from his secret location as Bray wraps Roman in a chinlock. The fans are mixed, but there are plenty rallying for Roman. The fans duel “Let’s go, Roman!” “Roman sucks!” Roman gets to his feet and fights back with body shots. Bray shoves him but Roman runs him over with lariats as he begins to rally. Bray reverses the whip but Roman hits him with the leaping lariat! Roman watches Bray roll out of the ring, so he goes out the other side and comes around the corner, Drive-By intercepted by the lariat! Then Bray throws Roman into steel steps before we go to break.

Raw returns and Bray stalks Roman before driving a knee into his back and stretching him back. Bray grows impatient with Roman’s endurance.

Roman starts getting back up while the fans continue to duel and Hardy continues to watch backstage. Roman gets Bray in the fireman’s carry and Samoan Drop! Both men are down and a ten count begins. Bray rolls while Roman sits up. Roman finds Bray in the corner and gives him the close-range clotheslines. Bray stops him short, lifts but Roman elbows out. They speed up, Bray runs Roman over with the body check! TWO! Bray keeps on Roman with a corner clothesline of his own, then hoists him up to the top rope. He climbs up and prepares a superplex, but Roman holds on! Roman uses his strength to pry his way out, then hit back with right hands. Bray staggers down but comes back with a chop. He climbs back up, and says “Anyone but you, Roman.” Roman revives and headbutts away on Bray! Roman then slips down and brings Bray out, sit-out powerbomb!

TWO! The two are down again and the referee checks on them. They’re both okay to continue, and Roman drags himself towards a corner. Roman stands up and the fans both cheer and jeer as he locks and loads. SUPER- Yurinagi counter! Back senton, too, TWO! Bray grows further frustrated, but also further manic as he laughs while pulling at his hair. The fans cheer “Let’s go Bray!” while he drags Roman up. He wants it but Roman rolls out of Sister Abigail, TWO, SUPERMAN PUNCH! Cover, TWO! Roman is too tired to be frustrated, he instead focuses on the Wrestlemania sign. Roman gets up and to a corner, the fans fire up both ways while he lets out the howl. He runs but Bray boots him away, SISTER ABIGAIL! TWO!! Bray is laughingly shocked at his old foe.

The fans declare “This is Awesome!” while Bray grins at Roman before unleashing hammering forearms to the back of Roman’s head. Bray drags Roman around and then to his feet. He wants a second one, but Roman revives to power out! He headbutts Bray, then ducks to SPEAR! Roman wins and is headed to The Elimination Chamber! With four spots filled, who will be the final two men to enter for a chance at The Beast?

WOKEN Hardy appears from nowhere!

And he wants to “DELETE! DELETE!” the Consumer of Terrestrial Entities! Bray knows he is there, and turns around, into a TWIST OF FATE! The Great War is far from over, who shall be the victorious being once it is finished?

 

Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan talk backstage.

The Architect asks how The Gold-Blooded Son feels. Is he even anywhere close to 100%? They have a rematch but it is the last time against The Bar. Rollins doesn’t want Jordan repeating their loss at Royal Rumble. Jordan says he’s ready, the doctors say he’s ready, so don’t worry. Rollins knows this isn’t about either individual but about them as a team. They vow to take back the Raw Tag Team Championships, can they do it?

 

Finn Balor w/ The Balor Club VS Dash Wilder w/ Scott Dawson!

The Extraordinary Man faces one of the #TopGuys 1v1, but Dash & Dawson have something to say on the way to the ring.

“In case you haven’t been paying attention”, ever since their return, this is The Revival. As such, these two are “tag team specialists”. Wherever one goes the other goes, so instead of just a singles, let’s make it a tag team match. Finn just has to choose one of his “Club Buddies” to tag in so The Revival can show them how it’s done. The Balor Club talks it over and Finn seems fine with either choice. The Good Brothers decide on The Machine Gun, and we have a new match made.

Finn Balor & Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows VS The Revival!

The bell rings and Anderson starts for The Balor Club while Dash starts for the #TopGuys. They tie up, Dash tags Dawson but Anderson gets away from their little trap. The Revival talk strategy for a moment before circling with Anderson. They tie up, Dawson puts Anderson in a corner. The break is a bit rough, and Dawson hits low with that forearm. He puts Anderson back in the corner to chop and hammer away, then whips. Anderson reverses then goes to hip toss but Dawson counters. Dawson puts on a headlock but Anderson powers out, only fro Dawson to run him over. Things speed up, Anderson arm-drags and elbows Dawson down, then does the same to Dash. Finn comes in, double whip and double body drops! The Revival bail out while The Balor Club Too Sweets, and we go to break.

Raw returns to see The Revival have turned it around and isolate Finn with an armlock. The fans rally and Finn gets to his feet. He pushes Dawson back but Dawson uses his tights to pull Finn to The Revival’s corner. Even so, Finn fights back against them both. Dawson misses and Finn throws him out. Finn crawls but Dash gets Dawson in so he can tag Dash, and then Dash pounces on Finn. He hauls Finn all the way back to his corner, then tags Dawson back in. The Revival mug Finn in the corner, focused on that arm. Dawson wrenches the arm then brings him down in a Fujiwara armbar while the fans rally.

Finn gets up and reaches for Anderson, but trips up Dawson and hits the double stomps! Dawson tags Dash back in but Finn gets the tag to Anderson! Anderson rallies, Dash reverses the whip but Anderson shotgun kicks Dash down. He also takes Dawson out before dodging Dash and giving him a jump kick! Anderson hops up, and jumps for a big neckbreaker! The fans fire up for The Machine Gun, he brings Dash up but Dash slips out. Anderson shoves Dash to ropes but Dawson holds onto his partner to save him from Anderson’s dropkick. Dawson tags in now, but Anderson is ready with the spinebuster! Dash breaks the cover, but Anderson clotheslines him out. He boots Dawson then tags Finn before giving a slingshot senton to Dash! Finn rallies on Dawson with a Slingblade, then the blasting dropkick! Dawson is in position and Finn climbs up, COUP DE GRACE! Balor Club wins! The #TopGuys bit off more than they could chew with this top team, will the next #1 contenders to the Raw Tag Team titles be #TooSweet?

 

Sasha Banks watches her loss from last week’s Raw.

The Boss had the Empress in her submission hold, only for Asuka to turn it around into hers. Sasha tapped, Asuka’s streak continues. Bayley comes in to tell Sasha to stop being so hard on herself. But the moment she stops being hard on herself, Sasha is no longer Sasha. She was so close to ending The Streak! Sasha is still the Boss, and she knows how. Bayley is going tonight, so can she get some hints? No offense, but Sasha keeps her tricks to herself. That’s fine. The Elimination Chamber is also every woman for herself, like the Rumble. Sasha did what she had to then, and she’ll do it again, if she’s in the Chamber. Then Sasha can go to Wrestlemania to end Asuka’s Streak. Bayley was thinking the same thing, but for herself. She thinks she can end The Streak? Bayley knows she can beat Sasha. And if Sasha thinks she’s good enough beat Asuka, then Bayley is, too. The two friends are getting a bit chippy, can their friendship survive making history?

 

Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali VS Drew Gulak & Tony Nese!

Cruiserweights have action on Raw as the Carolina Kid & Pakistani Prince take on “Team PowerPoint”, the Cruiserweight Crusader and the Premier Athlete. Meanwhile, the inaugural 205 Live GM, “Rockstar Spud” Drake Maverick joins commentary and is happy to represent “the most exciting show on the WWE Network”!

The bell rings and it is Ali and Nese to start. They tie up, Nese knees low then rocks Ali with a left forearm. Nese then throws Ali into a corner and unloads with body shots. He then backs off to flex and count his eight-pack before whipping Ali corner to corner. Ali goes up and over, speeds things up, and hits a big running headscissors!

Tag to Alexander, they both whip Nese, Alexander dropkicks Nese’s legs out to set Nese up for Ali’s own baseball slide dropkick. Nese rolls out to the apron, Alexander drags him back up only to get a hotshot! Alexander staggers, Nese runs him over with an elbow! Cover, ONE, so Nese tags in Gulak. Gulak runs and double ax handles Alexander down, cover, ONE again. Gulak drags Alexander up and tags Nese back in. Alexander is put on the apron, Nese hoists him up and hangs him up to straddle the top rope. Gulak runs side to side and clobbers Alexander off the top! Nese covers, Ali breaks it up, so Nese puts Alexander in a body scissors hold. Ali rallies the fans, but Gulak shouts at them to stop chanting and cheering. Alexander endures the squeeze and fights his way out, but Nese is right back on him. Nese puts him in a corner, Alexander boots out and reaches for Ali, but Nese comes back in. Nese’s kick is blocked and countered with the back elbow! Both men are down, but Alexander is crawling for his corner. Nese heads towards his, hot tags to Gulak and Ali! Ali rallies on his familiar old foe, and flapjack dropkicks Gulak down!

The fans fire up with Ali, but Gulak reverses the whip. Ali slides to a stop then elbows Gulak back, before hitting a flying tornado DDT! Nese breaks the pin! He goes after Ali, but Alexander dumps Nese out. ALexander builds speed and FLIES! Ali gets up to the top rope, and flies onto Gulak. Rol through, TWO, big clothesline from Gulak! Alexander tags in, springboards for the lariat! The fans fire up again while Alexander hits Lumbar Check! Alexander & Ali win! They won together as a team tonight, but they’re all competing for the Cruiserweight Championship. They eye the prize, but who will get to hold it come Wrestlemania?

 

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

The Olympic Gold Medalist and Hall of Famer is greeted with the usual and jovial “You Suck!” He explains that while history was made with the inaugural Women’s Rumble match, and that it was incredible given Raw’s own Asuka won it all, there will be more history made. Alexa Bliss will defend her Raw Women’s Championship in the inaugural Women’s Elimination Chamber match. He will now officially announce which five women will join Alexa. First, the Huggable Bayley! Then, Absolution’s Mandy Rose! The Six Time Women’s Champion, Mickie James! Absolution’s Sonya Deville! And… The Boss, Sasha Banks!

Yes, Nia Jax is not in the Chamber match, but she will have her own match at the Chamber PPV, against Asuka! We all know Asuka will face Alexa Bliss at Wrestlemania, but Nia Jax could win her way into that match to make it a Triple Threat! That said, The Goddess herself heads to the ring, and she looks very upset.

Alexa must put a stop to this. Angle is being “unjust” to her. How dare he use the Women’s (R)Evolution as part of this. This is against company policy! The Women’s Evolution is that the expectations are the same, that they are equal. Angle knows that is the policy. Then why is it that the Women’s Chamber Match, it is for the title while the Men’s Chamber Match isn’t? Does Lesnar just get to sit on the sideline? Why can’t Alexa get that privilege? The fans seem to agree. Is it because Alexa is a woman? First of all, Lesnar defended his title at the Royal Rumble while Alexa didn’t have to! She defended all the way back in October. Well she doesn’t make the matches. Why is he treating the men and women differently? Does he value Lesnar more than Alexa? Is he being sexist?!

Angle didn’t think to compare the two. His job as Raw GM is to put on the best matches. She might be trying to weasel her way out of this, but he’ll ask the audience’s opinion. Does the WWE Universe want Alexa to defend her title in this inaugural Women’s Chamber match? “YES!!” Alexa doesn’t care about the “sheep”, she demands respect! She then storms off, without another word towards the Chamber Match. Angle double checks, does the WWE Universe want to see a Women’s Chamber title match? “YES!!” The votes are in, can Alexa change this before it’s too late?

 

John Cena speaks.

The Road to Wrestlemania needs a plan to get there. Cena won his way into the Chamber, but now he can win his way to being last into the Chamber, against the Monster Among Men and The Drifter in a “match with no rules.” That’s easy!

 

Asuka VS Bayley!

The Empress of Tomorrow is still undefeated, but The Huggable One feels confident she can change that. Will history be made just weeks before the Elimination Chamber?

The bell rings and this NXT rivalry begins again. They circle, and Bayley stays away from Asuka as best she can. Bayley then tries to go after Asuka but Asuka kicks her in the leg. Asuka grabs Bayley in a facelock and floats over to a chinlock. Bayley slips out and around to a hammerlock to ground Asuka. Asuka spins around and stands up to reverse into an armlock. Bayley reverses back to a headlock, but Asuka powers out. They collide, but Asuka just gets in Bayley’s face. Bayley shoves and hits Asuka, Asuka fires back. Asuka gets the waistlock and a swinging takedown, but Bayley reverses to a side headlock. Asuka fights back and powers out again, but Bayely goes up and over. She tries a hip toss but Asuka counters with her own hip toss, then kicks away on Bayley. Asuka whips Bayley but Bayley reverses, Asuka hops up but Bayley forearms her down and out! The Empress is down but the Hugger recovers. Bayley takes aim, wrecking ball dropkick turns into a flying headscissors to throw Asuka! She puts Asuka back into the ring, but Asuka comes back with a big running hip attack! Bayley goes down and Asuka goes out to fetch her, but Bayley throws her into barriers! Both women are down while we go to break.

Raw returns to find Bayley squeezing Asuka in a grounded bearhug. Asuka gets up to her feet while fans rally, and fights her way out of the hold. She throws Bayley to ropes, then runs for the hip attack but Bayley blocks and hits a saido suplex, TWO! Bayley keeps on Asuka with stomps and punches, covers again, TWO. Now Bayley drops elbows on Asuka’s back, and returns to the bearhug. The fans continue to rally while Asuka fights out and hits back with elbows. Asuka whips but Bayley reverses, Asuka holds ropes to knee Bayley away. Bayley runs back in, for the pop-up knee! Asuka kicks away on Bayley then fires up for the low hip attack.

She keeps going, sliding knee strike, cover, TWO! Bayley and Asuka get up, Asuka goes to the top rope. She takes aim, but Bayley dodges the missile dropkick! Bayley runs and knees Asuka down, cover, TWO! She drags Asuka up and throws her to the apron, wanting the hotshot but Asuka wraps on her Asuka Lock! Bayley flails, and still hits the hotshot on Asuka, dropping the Empress to the ground. Now Bayley gets to the apron, and jumps at Asuka, to take that knee to the face! Asuka brings Bayley up and in, then covers, TWO! Asuka gets up and kicks Bayley in the chest again and again. Bayley blocks one, jackknife cover, TWO! Asuka lights Bayley up with several strikes, but Bayley ducks. Bayley2Belly blocked, Asuka gets around Bayley for the Asuka Lock’s chickenwing! Bayley reaches for ropes, rolls back, TWO!! But then she runs into the armbar!

Bayley endures, reaches, but Asuka straightens it out, Bayley taps! Asuka wins again!

They both stand up now, and Asuka offers a handshake. Bayley looks at Asuka, and accepts. There is much respect between these two, even after such a tough match. Can The Empress tough it out again when she faces the Irresistible Force at the Elimination Chamber PPV?

 

The Bar speaks.

Sheamus & Cesaro defend their Raw Tag Team Championships against Rollins & Jordan. They get to beat up the Pretty Boy & The Daddy’s Boy again! There was no resemblance of team work at the Rumble, so tonight they’ll kick off Rollins’ and Jordan’s heads again!

 

Fifth Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: The Miz w/ The Miztourage VS Apollo Crews w/ Titus Worldwide!

The Hollywood A-Lister has his Intercontinental Championship back, but he wants even more of the spotlight. “When my hand goes up, your mouths go shut!” And tonight, he encourages the fans to look at the night sky, because the stars will look a lot like him. The stars are aligning to make 2018 the Year of The Miz. Just look at the evidence! He returned at #Raw25 and defeated Roman Reigns. It was the highest rated Raw in three years, and it was thanks to Miz! Then the next Raw, Miz defeated Roman again to retain the title! Roman is a world-class athlete and one of WWE’s best, yet not even he could contend with Miz’s momentum. And here’s some “insider information”, as the Super Bowl 52 winning Eagles were inspired by The Miz! “But the best is yet to come”, as Miz vows to qualify here tonight to then win the Chamber, and then face the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Champion”, Brock Lesnar. Wrestlemania will not only plug his new show, Miz & Mrs., but his newborn daughter will see him become the first ever Universal and Intercontinental Champion!

Raw returns to find this match already in action. Apollo holds Miz up in a vertical suplex, and then finally drop him after several seconds. Cover, TWO, but Crews is not deterred. Miz shoves him to a corner, but Crews boots back and hops up for a jumping sunset flip. TWO, Miz stacks, ONE, and they go back and forth with seated pins. Crews rolls Miz again, TWO! Jackknife cover, TWO! Miz swings but then scrambles to ropes to avoid getting hit. Crews yanks him back in and knocks him down with a spinning elbow, TWO! Miz gets to the apron, Crews brings him up but gets a hotshot. The fans cheer Miz as he takes his time getting up on the top rope. He jumps, but Crews dropkicks him out of the air!

TWO! Crews keeps going, but Miz reverses the whip and rocks Crews with a kitchen sink knee. Miz catches his breath, runs, but into the trophy lift! Crews drops Miz, standing moonsault but into Miz’s knees! Cover, TWO, but Miz puts Crews in a body scissors squeeze. Titus and Dana rally the fans for Crews, Miz shifts but Crews gets up and fights back. Crews whips Miz but Miz reverses again, Crews rocks Miz with a shotgun dropkick! Both men are down, but the fans and Titus Worldwide rally again. Crews and Miz get up, Crews mule kicks then running boots, before bringing Miz down with a leaping lariat! He enziguris Miz down now, covers, TWO! Crews keeps moving, dragging Miz up. Miz escapes the lift, then side steps Crews to get to the other corner. He runs in corner to corner, but that A-List clothesline is blocked and countered with a belly2belly!

Standing moonsault then standing shooting star! TWO, and Crews is shocked! The early celebration is cancelled while Miz crawls to ropes. Crews gets himself up while Bo check on his boss. He grabs Miz but the ropebreak gives Miz an opening to kick him in the knee. Finale countered by Crews into a roll-up, TWO! Miz whips Crews, Crews tries to go up and over but gets hung up on the top rope. Skull Crushing Finale! Miz wins and qualifies! The first step has been taken, can Miz complete his checklist to make history?

 

Seth Rollins finds Jordan, Angle and a medic backstage.

What’s going on? Jordan is sorry, but he’s not allowed to compete tonight. He was warming up and something felt off, so now he’s not cleared to compete. Rollins gets upset, and Jordan apologizes, but what do we do about the match? There doesn’t seem to be any other option than to cancel. Unless, Roman steps up?

Angle allows it, and the match is on, the true Shield boys challenge for tag team gold!

 

WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: The Bar VS Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns!

The Celtic Gladiator & Swiss Cyborg were expecting a “Daddy’s Boy” but now they’re getting the Big Dog! Roman and Rollins held WWE tag team gold together in the past, can they obtain new tag gold tonight?

The Architect starts against Sheamus and the two circle with the bell. Sheamus gets the headlock takeover but Rollins gets the headscissor counter. They separate and go again, Sheamus getting another headlock. Iowa is behind Rollins as he powers out but gets run over. Sheamus embraces the heat, but things speed up, Rollins tackles Sheamus and punches away. Rollins wrenches Sheamus’ arm but Sheamus gets away when he sees they’re headed to the Shield corner. Tag to Cesaro, he and Rollins tie up. Cesaro gets the arm wrench and wristlock, but Rollins rolls and spins to reverse the hold onto Cesaor. Cesaro knees low and hits Rollins with a stiff European Uppercut. Tag to Sheamus, The Bar stomps a mudhole into Rollins, then tag back to Cesaro. They give Super Saiyan kicks to drop Rollins, and Cesaro talks trash despite the mouth piece. Rollins ducks the whip and tags in Roman, they double whip Cesaro and shoulder him down. Cover, ONE, but Roman keeps Cesaro back. Roman yanks the arm, then tags Rollins back in, they double whip Cesaro and mock The Bar thumbs, and even copy the double mule kicks. Cover, TWO, but Rollins keeps Cesaro from Sheamus. Rollins rocks Cesrao with haymakers and a chop, then tags Roman back in, for the assisted forearm smash and feed to a boot! Sheamus runs in but into an uppercut, Rollins clotheslines him out! Lock and load, then DIVE onto Sheamus, but into the Irish Curse backbreaker! Cesaro EuroUppers Roman then throws him out before tagging Sheamus. Sheamus throws Roman into barriers, The Bar has control while we go to break.

Raw return and Cesaro has Roman in a facelock. Iowa wants Rollins back in, but Sheamus tags in first to rock Roman with right hands. Cesaro gets a cheap shot in, which upsets Rollins on the other side. Sheamus drives his knees in and then wraps Roman in a chinlock. Roman endures the squeeze, fans rally and he gets to his feet. He reaches for Rollins but Sheamus steers him the other way. Tag to Cesaro, The Bar knocks Roman down with the Bar Lariat, cover, TWO! Cesaro keeps on Roman, choking him on the ropes. Sheamus gets a cheap shot knee in, then the pop-up EuroUpper!

Rollins breaks the pin, but Sheamus drags him out to knock him down. Roman gets up and dodges Cesaro to give him close-range clotheslines! Sheamus stops him but gets rocked with an uppercut, Cesaro rolls up, TWO! Sheamus tags in just before Roman clotheslines Cesaro out, then rocks Roman with a hotshot and stiff knee. Tag back to Cesaro, The Bar brings Roman up, A-Swiss-ted White Noise! TWO! The Bar is shocked, that move usually finishes teams. Cesaro brings Roman up again, he wants the Neutralizer. Roman revives to Samoan Drop Cesaro instead! The fans fire up as Rollins returns to his corner! Roman and Cesaro crawl, hot tag to Sheamus, and Sheamus knocks Rollins down. SUPERMAN PUNCH knocks Sheamus down! Sheamus and Roman crawl, but Jordan appears?! He’s not part of the match, but he helps Rollins up and over.

Now both corners have someone to tag, hot tag to Cesaro AND Rollins! Rollins rallies on The Bar, flying blockbuster for Cesaro! He keeps going, to DIVE onto Sheamus! Then he slingshots for a guillotine legdrop on Cesaro, and with Des Moines thunderous, he runs again to DIVE on Cesaro and send him into the crowd! Rollins gets Cesaro back in, Slingblade, TWO! The Architect doesn’t slow down, he just keeps his eyes on Cesaro, but Cesaro dodges the stomp! He puts Rollins top rope and rocks him with a EuroUpper. Rollins boots him away, tornado snap suplex and roll through to Falcon Arrow! TWO! Both men are down, and the fans declare “This is Awesome!” Sheamus distracts, Cesaro thumbs the eyes, but Jordan trips Cearo up. Rollisn rolls up, TWO, mule kick! SHeamus breaks this pin, but Jordan keeps rallying for Rollins. Roman revives and tells Jordan he can go now. “We got this!”

Jordan starts leaving, Rollins hits Cesaro with the Kingslayer knee, then SUPERKICKS Sheamus! Tag to Roman, and though there’s no Ambrose, they set up the Shield Bomb! However, Cesaro grabs Sheamus and The Bar decides to run for it. The Bar has their belts, but Jordan blocks their path. He and The Bar get antsy, Jordan punches Cesaro!? This disqualifies the match!! Rollins and Roman are furious, and Jordan only now realizes what he’s done. The Bar retain the titles, and laugh all the way to the stage. The fans tell Jordan “You Suck!” because that was the last chance for Rollins to challenge The Bar. A fatal error by Jordan costs his side the gold, is there any possible way he can make this up to the Shield boys?

 

Braun Strowman speaks.

The Monster Among Men was the Last Man Standing against The Big Red Machine. And tonight, he’ll be the last man standing in the Triple Threat. At Elimination Chamber, he’ll be the last man standing. And at Wrestlemania against Brock Lesnar one more time, he’ll be the last man standing as the new Universal Champion! Cena and Elias better get ready to #GetTheseHands, because nothing will stop Strowman on the Road to Wrestlemania.

Rollins reprimands Jordan backstage.

Jordan never listens and never learns. Why was he out there? Jordan was trying to help! Angle keeps the peace, but Rollins gets angrier. The only thing Rollins is sorry about is not hurting Jordan himself. Rollins storms off and Angle tells Jordan to go home to recover. Jordan doesn’t want people to talk to him that way, but Angle gets mad and shouts for Jordan to go home. When will this tension explode into more than just an argument?

 

Nia Jax VS Vanessa Floyd!

The Irresistible Force and Brutal Beauty may not be in the inaugural Women’s Elimination Chamber, but seeing as how she’s #NotLikeMostGirls, she’s content to challenge Asuka’s Streak and even face her and Alexa Bliss at Wrestlemania. As for Vanessa in the snake skin tights, Nia simply toys with her. She puts Vanessa in a corner, but then Vanessa fights out. She runs, and dropkicks Nia, but Nia uses that to add momentum to her body check! Nia wont’ let Vanessa upstage her, she throws Vanessa around and then squashes her in a corner. Then another big toss, and even the trophy lift press and drop. Nia ends it with the leg drop, Nia wins!

In-ring interview with Nia.

Congratulations, but also how does she feel about going up against Asuka for a chance to join the Raw Women’s Championship match? “Asuka, I’m the only woman in the locker room that does not fear you.” The one woman Asuka can’t beat. Nia promises to mess Asuka’s face up so that she’ll have to permanently wear that mask. And then, the Empress of Tomorrow will be the Empress of Yesterday. She didn’t break a sweat tonight, how hard will Nia have to work to defeat Asuka and break the streak?

 

Sonya Deville w/ Absolution VS Mickie James!

The Gladiator Gal has the Glampire and Golden Flower by her side, and will even have Mandy Rose in the Chamber match. Can she gain momentum off #KickieJames before they all meet in the “Every Woman For Herself” environment?

The bell rings, and Sonya circles with Mickie. She shoots in and gets the waistlock takedown, Paige declares “This is OUR House!” Sonya gets another takedown, but Mickie pries her way to the ropes. The break is a bit disrespectful, so Mickie slaps Sonya across the face! Sonya gets mad and pushes Mickie to a corner and both woman gets scrappy with the other. Mickie backs Sonya down, big Thesz Press! Mickie kicks away, then runs to run Sonya over. Cover, ONE, but Mickie keeps her cool. Sonya shoves her away, but Mickie comes back, cravat and knees to a snapmare. Mickie runs, and boots Sonya down. Cover, TWO, and Sonya keeps checking her nose. Mickie kicks away, then whips Sonya but Sonya reverses. Sonya runs in but into Mickie’s back elbow. Mickie hops up, Mandy distracts, Sonya throws Mickie down. The referee checks on Mickie, but Absolution protests this is getting in the way. Sonya hammers away on Mickie then drags her up for stiff kicks. Mickie pushes Sonya away but gets more kicks and even knees from Sonya. Absolution cheers Sonya on, but Des Moines has mixed reactions. Mickie tries to fight back but Sonya just knocks her back down, cover, TWO. Sonya takes her time with Mickie now, daring her to do something. Sonya then runs and knocks Mickie down with a knee, cover, TWO. Paige coaches Sonya to keep going, and Sonya hammers with haymakers. Mickie hits back, but Sonya simply knocks her down again. More knees from Sonya, but Mickie rolls her, Mickie wins!! Paige sicks Mandy on Mickie, and Absolution stomps Mickie out. But it’s Alexa Bliss to the rescue? She drags Mickie out of the pack, and then to the back, but Mickie says she’s just getting started. Absolution seems as confused as anyone, but in the end, Alexa made the save. Is there a change in The Goddess’s ways?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter has come to Des Moines and plays his guitar. And as always, “Who Wants to Walk with Elias?!” He gets a strong response from “a no name town like this.” This is his first time here, because he usually just flies over it looking for better. But Elias has made it to the Chamber, and he will “solidify” himself as the last entrant. He will then “give you the greatest performance of a lifetime” at Wrestlemania. All things WWE will soon be his, because it stands for “Walk With Elias!” Elias chose not to perform at the Super Bowl so that he could be in “this god-forsaken wasteland”, big mistake. Even so, Elias has a song, all for himself. “Strowman’s not a monster. He’s just a man.” Fans boo, and Elias stops. Shut your mouths so he can focus! He starts again, but the fans boo and jeer even harder. “I’m gonna win the Chamber, then I move on to Brock. Brock should fear Elias, because with me he’ll walk.” Cena makes his entrance, and for once all the fans are happy!

Triple Threat: Braun Strowman VS John Cena VS Elias!

Mathematically speaking, the last person into a match like the Elimination Chamber wins, so the winner here will all but stamp his ticket to Wrestlemania! Who will gain a huge advantage going into that huge #1 contender’s match?

The bell rings, and Elias gets right out of the ring to let Cena take care of Strowman. Or, perhaps vice-versa. Cena unleashes hands but then runs into Strowman’s boot! Elias stays far away and we go to break.

Raw returns one more time, and we see that while Cena is down, Elias has reentered. However, Elias runs right back out of the ring, only for Strowman to pursue! Elias leads Strowman back into the ring, Cena lifts Strowman but collapses underneath. Strowman covers, Elias returns but Strowman grabs him around the throat!

Strowman backs Elias into a corner, then throws him across the way! Elias gets up, and gets clothesline’d out by Strowman. Cena escapes the ring as well, but Strowman exits the ring to walk over to where Cena and Elias have ended up. Strowman brings Elias up to simply headbutt him back down, then he brings Cena up for a headbutt of his own. The Drifter is put back in the ring, then The Face that Runs the Place. They both see Strowman climbing back up and in, and go at him together! The unlikely allies are pushed back, but Cena runs back in to hit Strowman with a shoulder tackle. Elias follows and hits Strowman with a big knee strike, and then together they clothesline Strowman out of the ring! They rush The Monster, throwing him into a post! Strowman leans against the barrier, Elias and Cena throw him back into the post. They keep on the staggered Strowman, throwing him into steel steps! Strowman is finally off his feet, but Cena grabs the steps. He smacks them off of Strowman, but Strowman stays up. Cena grabs the base steps while Elias grabs his guitar, SMASHING it across Strowman’s back! Cena lifts Strowman with all his might, for an AA onto the steps!

But then Elias pounces on Cena, and puts him in the ring. TWO, but Elias stomps Cena and rains down rights. He covers again, TWO. Elias keeps his cool, knowing Strowman is still down. The fans duel, “Let’s go Cena!” “Cena Sucks!” Cena fights back with haymakers, but Elias hits a spin-out backbreaker, cover, TWO! Elias grows frustrated, but he keeps calm with Strowman still down on the outside. He brings Cena up and knocks him down again with a right, then wraps on a chinlock. Cena endures the squeeze while fans continue to duel. The fans rally, Cena slowly makes his way to his feet, only to be brought back down. Cena tries again, and gets to his feet. He powers out of the hold and blocks the kick to then start rallying with his shoulder tackles. He hits Elias with the spin-out powerbomb, and the fans know what that means. “You Can’t Se Mee!” Cena runs, but Strowman returns and scoops him, POWERSLAM! Then he scoops Elias but Elias throws him out, covers Cena, Elias wins!!

The Drifter doesn’t celebrate for long, though, because Strowman returns to punish him with a powerslam! The fans want “One More Time!” but the Monster Among Men goes to leave. Kidding! He’s going to give the fans what they want: another powerslam on Cena!

But the fans aren’t satisfied just yet, and neither is Strowman. He picks Elias up again, for Elias’ second powerslam! Well, everything comes in threes, so Cena receives a third powerslam! Elias tries to retreat, but he gets caught, and he gets a third powerslam!

The Monster Among Men may not be entering last, but will anyone keep him from being the last to leave?

 

My Thoughts:

This was definitely a more energetic Raw than usual. It opens with well-welcomed short promos that shift right into the opening match. It was rather obvious that Roman-Bray was going to put Roman in the Chamber, given it was Roman and Bray, but the match in and of itself was solid work. WOKEN Hardy appearing to get a bit of revenge on Bray was also obvious but still fun. I actually liked that The Revival declined having a singles match in favor of having a tag team match, as they are clearly 100% dedicated to tag team wrestling. Of course, it backfires on them as they end up against Balor & Anderson, one being a great singles wrestler and the other a touted tag team specialist in his own right. The Balor Club is racking up wins, I wonder if they could challenge for the Raw Tag Team Titles at Chamber or Wrestlemania. The Good Brothers VS The Bar has already been teased here and there and could be a very physical match. The Cruiserweight tag team match was also good, as it definitely worked to highlight the best parts of the Cruiserweight Division. While everyone in the Division is focused on THE Cruiserweight Championship, I hope this tag team match at least gets someone to consider opening them up to the Raw Tag Team Division so that there are more teams to use.

I’m definitely intrigued in the developments in the Raw Women’s Division. Bayley and Asuka come full circle as they have a great match, that Asuka of course wins, but then ends with Asuka showing Bayley the utmost respect with the handshake. The most interesting part is how this contrasts with Asuka VS Sasha, and how Sasha and Bayley are starting to get a bit chippy with each other, such as in their conversation backstage. They’re both in the Chamber, as Angle announced, so that might be the perfect setting for Sasha to finally turn completely Heel. Alexa Bliss protesting was both a fitting Heel reaction and a fitting issue to point out. There are a lot of real-world reasons as to why Lesnar isn’t in the Chamber and Alexa is, and Angle does well to point out a good kayfabe reason to counter. As for Alexa bailing Mickie out when Absolution is beating her down, I don’t take that so much as a Face Turn but a way back into Mickie’s good graces so that they can stick together against Absolution in the Chamber.

Now, Anti-Roman fans may have been irked by Roman trying for the Raw Tag Team Championships with Rollins, but everyone had to know that it wasn’t so much to put Roman over as to grow the rift between Rollins and Jordan and set us up for their coming feud. And I must say, it was all done brilliantly here tonight, with Jordan “accidentally” costing Rollins the titles and Rollins wanting to kick in his head. It won’t take much at this point to have them go after each other, and then we get a feud that can go right into ‘Mania. Miz VS Crews was great, Apollo continues to show those old flashes of potential but there’s nothing wrong with him losing to Miz, who is on that great of a roll that WWE is at least teasing the possibility of him being a historic dual champion. Strowman VS Cena VS Elias was a great triple threat, and a great stipulation. “Cena Wins LOL” is in fact the reason Cena doesn’t win, and then it would make the Chamber match too easy for Strowman if he won, so Elias as the purest Heel of the three gets the honor of going in last. However, with Elias going in last, I already see that as him coming in as the fresh and confident Heel to simply add more to the battered Face’s triumph. Or in other words, add to Roman’s triumph since that still feels like Vince’s go-to ‘Mania match. That all aside, Strowman continues to be a delight as he gives the people what they want, in the form of his overwhelming strength.

My score: 8.5/10


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Ja’Von’s IMPACT Redemption PPV Live Report! (4/22/18)

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Impact Wrestling Redemption PPV

IMPACT Wrestling presents Redemption tonight, live from the Impact Zone in Orlando, Florida. A total of eight matches are announced, including the much anticipated triple threat (re)match between Impact World Champion Austin Aries, Pentagon Jr, and Fenix. The promotion has debuted new championships (Tag Team, Knockouts, X-Division, World), and a new stage/set.

Keep Refreshing For The Latest Results!


IMPACT Redemption Quick Results:

  • Impact World Championship
    Austin Aries (c) vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix
  • Impact Knockouts Championship
    Allie (c) vs. Su Yung
  • Impact X Division Championship
    Matt Sydal (c) vs. Petey Williams
  • Impact World Tag Team Championship
    LAX (c) vs. Eli Drake and Scott Steiner: NEW Impact Tag Team Champions Eli Drake and Scott Steiner via pinfall
  • House Of Hardcore 6-Man Tag Match
    Tommy Dreamer, Moose, and Eddie Edwards vs. oVe
  • Ishimori vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Brian Cage vs. DJZ vs. Trevor Lee: Brain Cage via pinfall
  • Aerostar vs. Drago: Aerostar via pinfall
  • Taya Valkyrie vs. Kiera Hogan: Taya Valykire via pinfall 

 


IMPACT Redemption Play-By-Play:

Redemption opens up with the cold opening.

Drago vs Aerostar:

Drago vs Aerostar kicks us off tonight as Drago makes his way to the ring. Aerostar makes his way to the ring next. Collar and elbow tie up with a go around and Aerostar gets the upper hand with a headlock but Drago turns it around into a wristlock hold on Star. The match starts to pick up the pace just a tad with back and fourth counters. Aerostar dodges Drago and connects with kick to the chest.

Aerostar kicks Drago in the face while he’s in the ropes. Fast forward a bit and Drago launches Aerostar with his feet from the corner and follows up with a kick to the head. Back and forth we go and Aerostar is driven out of the ring and Drago follows it up with twisting tope con hiro and throws Aerostar back in the ring for a two count. Drago stays on Aerostar and flips he over into the seated position and connects with a kick to the back of the head. Drago picks up Aerstar to follow but Aerostar counters and gains control of the March sending Drago out of the ring and hitting his signature move La Bonetia and gets a two count.

Back and forth ww go with multiple covers only getting two counts. Both guys have the same idea in their heads as they hit double clotheslines and both men are down. Aerostar comes charging in at Drago but he counters with a back breaker across the knee followed by a kick to the side of thehead. Drago then hits a hangman’s DDT for a two count. Drago hits multiple shots on Aerostar but Aerostar pushes Drago out of the ring and follows with a tope. Star rolls Drago back in the ring and covers him for a two count. Aerostar stays on Drago but comes up empty and Drago knocks down Aerostar for a two count. Drago puts Aerostar in the La Miestra cradle for a two count. Aerostar is planted with a powerbomb and looks to go for another but wastes time and allows Aerostar to counter and hit a springboard neckbreaker.  Aerostar hits Drago with a flying codebreaker for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Aerostar via pinfall 

Backstage segment showing Josh Mathews and Matt Sydal talking and Matthews saying that Sydal has fully blossom and doesn’t need him anymore. He also wishes him luck in his title match tonight against Petey Williams.

Eli Drake and Scott Steiner vs LAX (Impact Tag Team Championship Match):

LAX is shown in the clubhouse getting ready for their match. They get a call and apparently someone has taken out Konnan but they don’t know who. They now have to refocus and get ready to defend their titles. Eli Drake makes his way to the ring and debuts a new theme song. Scott Steiner makes his way to the ring for the match.

LAX make their way to the ring without Konnan. LAX is jumping at the bit to get at Eli Drake as the ref holds them back.

Collar and elbow tie up and Eli pushes Santana into the corner. Drake begins to trash talk Santana and regrets it immediately and finds himself in enemy territory. Ortiz tags in and they hit double team maneuvers for a two count. Drake fights back and hits a knee to the gut of Ortiz. Steiner and Eli hit a double team maneuver which knocks Ortiz out of the ring and Eli follows him out and knocks him down. Drake throws Ortiz back in and tags in Scott who gets a one count. Stiener hits a big move on Santana and then the same move on Ortiz. Drake tags in and hits his signature elbow for a two count.

Ortiz begins to fight back and Steiner tags himself in but gets pushed into a corner and eats a boot for his troubles. Both Ortiz and Steiner tag out and Santana fires off on Drake. LAX begins their double team maneuvers for maximum impact but Steiner stops them in their tracks and hit a overhead suplex on Santana. Steiner sets Santana up on the top rope and hits a frankensteiner. Scott tries to lock in the Steiner recliner but Ortiz comes back in and breaks it up. Down the stretch Scott Steiner was taken out but Santana and Drake hits the gravey train on Ortiz for the pinfall victory.

Winners: NEW Impact Tag Team Champions Eli Drake and Scott Steiner 

Dezmond Xavier vs Trevor Lee vs Taji Ishimori vs El Hijo Del Fantasma vs DJZ vs Brain Cage( Six Way Match):

Everyone makes their way to the ring for the match. DJZ and Dezmond Xavier start the match and DJZ gets a wristlock on Xavier. Dezmond counters and gets a side headlock on DJZ. DJZ counters and puts Xavier in a headlock of his own.

The match begins to pick up a bit and Dezmons hits a dropkick on DJZ which kicks him into a corner. DJZ knocks Ishimori off the apron with a flying senton flip. Since DJZ went to the outside Trevor Lee gets in the ring and thinks he tossed Xavier out of the ring. Xavier toss Lee out of the ring and Fantasma enters the ring. This match takes off and the two men that become legal are Ishimori and Fantasma. Ishimori hits a springboard senton. Ishimori gets taken to the outside and Trevor Lee comes in and gets a two count on Fantasma.

The match breaks down and Lee has now attacked Cage twice but he’s still on the apron while everyone is down. Cage finally gets in the ring and hits multiple clothesline to Trevor in the corner. Xavier enters the ring and almost gets thrown out of the ring for his troubles. Fantasma and Ishimori try to take out Cage who fights back and hits a springboard moonsault on Taji. Cage is eventually sent out of the ring and DJZ hits a DDT to the outside of the ring taking out Cage.

The match is fast and furious as Xavier and Fantasma work together to take out Brain Cage to no avail. Trevor Lee enters the ring and counters him for a two count. Down the stretch Cage takes out Lee, Fantasma and hits the Drill Claw on Dezmond Xavier for the win.

Winner: Brain Cage via pinfall

Taya Valykire vs Keira Hogan:

Taya Valykire makes her way to the ring.

Keira Hogan makes her way to the ring for the match. Taya pushes Hogan down to the mat. Hogan uses her speed against Taya but she knocks her down with an elbow. Keira fights back and hits a hurricanrana on Valykire in the corner. Keira keeps it up on Taya and hits a springboard move on Taya. The match spills to the outside but Taya eventually regains control.

TESSA BLANCHARD JOINS THE COMMENTARY TABLE MIDMATCH. Taya stays on Hogan but Keira fights back for a bit but Taya counters and hits a big move for a two count. Taya then hits Keira with a big knee for another two count. Keira tries to fight back while Taya holds her hair with multiple elbows. Hogan breaks free and hits a huge double sledgehammer on Taya for a two count.

Taya rushes Hogan in the corner but Keira counters and stomps down Valykire. Taya fights back and hits a big suplex for a two count. Taya has had enough of Keira and clubs Hogan in the back of the neck with multiple elbows in the corner. Taya Valykire eventually hits the Road to Valhalla for the win.

Winner: Taya Valykire via pinfall

 

 

 


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MLW Fusion Ratings & Review: 4/20/18

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Major League Wrestling, makes it’s television debut! Tony Schiavone is back everyone! Friday Nights at 8pm we get to toggle between Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross again. MLW and NJPW aren’t WCW and WWF, but it’s pretty close to 1998 again.

Either way, MLW makes it’s debut, and they decided to give us two long matches, with four well known wrestlers. Production value is like a combination of WrestleCircus and ROH, but the bright whites of the rope and mat really help the presentation pop.

So how about I shut up, and just get to the what happened?

 

Austin Aries vs ACH

Now to kick off, I never realized ACH says he hails from the Planet Vegeta, that popped me for the Dragon Ball reference.Either way, we have two very well known Cruiserweights, and this is the kick off match.

When the match starts we see ACH has the right side of his ribs and his right upper thigh taped up. Aries and ACH shake hands to kick things off, and honestly, Aries never really tries to exploit the injured areas.

This match was the longest match of the night, and the two put on a clinic. ACH was hampered slightly because of his injuries, but both men got all of this signature moves in. Schiavone kept jumping at the opportunity to call the 450 Splash, and when ACH finally did it, he was met with Aries’ knees.

After a Horns of Aries submission and the Discus Fivearm, Aries finally puts away ACH with the Brainbuster.

If this is a precursor for how they’re going to pace out their shows, anyone who loves quality wrestling, will enjoy this program.

Winner: Austin Aries via Brainbuster

Rating: *** 3/4

 

Jimmy Havoc promo, basically talking about how fans love blood, referencing Dusty Rhodes and Steve Corino. Informs everyone that he will bring the violence.

 

Chico Adams vs Barrington Hughes

Aside from learning his nickname is Caramel Colossus, we’re not given enough time for much. Hughes dispatches of this wannabe Chico, immediately with an Urange.

His outfit is bright and flashy, and he’s like a more well spoken Sexual Chocolate. Barrington will probably makes some big waves in the near future.

Winner: Barrington Hughes via Urange

Rating: N/A (Squash Match)

 

#1 Contender Match: Rey Fenix vs Pentagon w/ Salina de la Renta

We’ve seen both of these men go at it a few times, and we’ll see it again on Sunday. Funnily enough, the 3 competitors in Redemption, were on this show.

This match is almost as long at the Aries match, but a much different feel. They move to the outside fairly early, and spend a lot of time out there. Multiple crowd interaction spots, Pentagon getting them to chant ‘Uno Mas’ and he even borrowed a fans’ hat.

However, even though the fan interaction helped to keep everyone on their feet, it started a few awkward spots. A Frankensteiner into the crowd was slow and awkward because they fell into a bunch of fans and chairs. Shortly there after, Fenix tried to spring up and do a Spanish Fly, but that looked bad.

Yes, yes, I’m nit picking, but those couple small things close to each other, and a commercial break, kinda hurt the flow of a match that has two of the best in the world.

Pentagon ends up putting it together following a Powerbomb Backbreaker, his Bone Collector maneuver, capped off with the Fear Factor. Which gives Pentagon the opportunity against Shane Strickland for a rematch from WrestleCircus: Raise the Curtain.

Winner: Pentagon via Fear Factor

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Even though Tony Schiavone gave us the “we’re out of time”, from the WCW days, there was more if you stayed tuned in. The show technically ended with a video package hyping the Jimmy Havoc vs Shane Strickland match next week.

All in all, it was an impressive debut. Two very good matches, a few intriguing video packages and an up and coming beast in Barrington Hughes. MLW is off to a good start, and of course, I’m a huge fan of hearing Schiavone again.


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: New Japan Cup 2018 Quarterfinals!

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AXS TV begins a three week coverage event of the 2018 New Japan Cup! NJPW’s finest fight for the right to face a champion of their choice for his title! This first week is for the quarterfinals, with matches such as Michael Elgin VS Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Bad Luck Fale and Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr!

 

This review of The New Japan Cup 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Michael Elgin VS Juice Robinson; Robinson wins and advances to the semifinals.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Back Luck Fale; Tanahashi wins and advances to the semifinals.
  • Toru Yano VS Sanada; Sanada wins and advances to the semifinals.
  • Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins and advances to the semifinals.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW recap the New Japan Cup’s opening round!

Sixteen of NJPW’s best Heavyweight wrestlers started this year’s tournament in eight spectacular matches over the first four days! And all for a shot of the winner’s choice in titles: the IWGP Heavyweight Championship; IWGP Intercontinental Championship; or the NEVER Openweight Championship.

The Flamboyant Juice Robinson defeated Tokyo Pimp, Yujiro Takahashi and Big Mike Elgin overcame the Stone Pitbull, Tomohiro Ishii. The Underboss, Bad Luck Fale, battled it out with Killer Elite Squad’s Lance Archer and came out on top while Hiroshi Tanahashi returned to eliminate the newly-minted Heavyweight in Taichi. The Golden Star and former Cup winner took care of the Head Hunter, Yoshi-Hashi, while the Technical Wizard known as Zack Sabre Jr. made the 2016 winner, Tetsuya Naito, tap out. In quite the surprise victory, the Sublime Master Thief, Toru Yano beat Killer Elite Squad’s Davey Boy Smith with a count out. But the Kentucky Gentleman, Chuck Taylor, could not keep even with his Chaos ally against the Cold Skull, as Sanada would powerbomb him through a table, and out of the tournament.

Our field of eight is set! The quarterfinals begin, who will win to become the Final Four in the next round?

 

Michael Elgin VS Juice Robinson!

The Juice is loose and thirsty for gold, but so is the Unbreakable Canadian. Elgin broke through the Stone Pitbull while the Flamboyant Robinson outdid Bullet Club’s playboy, who will have what it takes to get to the semifinals?

No time wasted in this No Time Limit match as AXS TV gives us more of a montage of the solid shoulder collisions between Juice & Elgin. Elgin dominates Juice with suplexes, back elbows and slams, but Juice soldiers on. Elgin slingshots but Juice dodges, letting Elgin hit hard on the mat. Then Juice slingshots onto Elgin on the outside! At one point, Juice gets Elgin on his shoulders for the Electric Chair facebuster!

Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows for Juice. Later, Juice and Elgin stand on the top rope, and Elgin hits Juice with a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO, but close. Elgin clobbers Juice with another lariat and fires up while Juice’s eyes glaze over. Elgin picks Juice up, prepares the powerbomb and hits the buckle bomb, to then move right into another, but Juice small package counters, Juice wins!

Winner: Juice, by pinfall

The Flamboyant One surprises the Unbreakable to move forward, and the elation is clear on Juice’s face. Can he surprise everyone again in the next round?

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Back Luck Fale!

The Bullet Club’s Underboss is already one-third of the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champions, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting more. Meanwhile, the Once in a Century Talent returns from being sidelined by the menacing Minoru Suzuki in their IWGP Intercontinental Championship encounter back in January. Will Fale move to add more titles to his collection? Or will The Ace take one step closer to revenge?

Another montage shows us Tanahashi hit Fale with a baseball slide dropkick but then Fale using Tanahashi as the ball in a game of bowling-for-chairs! Fale continues the outside action as he disassembles the railings to then use them all to flatten Tanahashi! Or, he would, if they weren’t mostly plastic… Fale keeps piling the railings on, then leaves Tanahashi behind. The 20 count rises up to 14 before Tanahashi makes it back to ringside, then 17 before Tanahashi gets back in the ring. Fale keeps on Tanahashi with a scoop slam then sitting pin, putting his full weight on Tanahashi’s chest! TWO, but Fale keeps his cool.

Tanahashi turns things around with a drop toehold that sends Fale into the corner pad. Tanahashi throws body shots, and manages his own scoop slam of the massive Underboss! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he runs and hits the slingblade! Tanahashi clotheslines Fale out of the ring, then climbs up for a SUPER Crossbody!

Both men would climb up onto the apron at about 8 in the count, but Fale would clothesline Tanahashi down onto the apron! Fale drags Tanahashi off to then prepare a Razor’s Edge! But Tanahashi would push off the post to send Fale into the railings! The count reaches 18 and Tanahashi gets in the ring! Fale can’t get back, he’s counted out! Tanahashi wins!

Winner: Tanahashi, by count out

The Ace survives the Underboss, but after he clears his head, Fale comes back to the ring.

Fale pushes past the referee and goes after Tanahashi, but Tanahashi blocks his boot to dragon screw him down. Tanahashi stands tall as Fale retreats, then Tanahashi takes to the mic. “New Japan Pro Wrestling has returned to Fuji City!” He thanks the fans for their support, and vows to “keep building up New Japan”, so please continue to support him now. “Thank you for everything.” Tanahashi then celebrates by playing his air guitar! Will the Ace of NJPW rock and roll all the way to the finals?

 

Toru Yano VS Sanada!

Chaos’ Binwan Producer survived Bulldog The Second with a count out victory while Cold Skull decisively dealt with the Kentucky Gentleman. Can the former three-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion keep one half of the current Heavyweight Tag Team Champions out of the semifinals? Or will Sanada put Chaos’ comedian to sleep?

Yano tries to get Sanada before the bell but Sanada is ready for him and counters by putting Yano’s shirt over his face. Sanada then gets Yano in an Oklahoma roll! They roll and roll and roll and roll, then Sanada finally stops, TWO. Sanada keeps his cool while Yano struggles to figure out where he is in the ring. He’s by the ropes, so Sanada goes over and includes the rope in the Paradise Lock! However, the referee backs him off before he can finish it, so Sanada settles for hitting Yano with a baseball slide dropkick. Yano falls to the floor, and Sanada goes out to fetch him. Sanada rocks Yano with a haymaker, and they go around the outside of the ring as the ring count begins. Yano pushes Sanada back then whips him, but Sanada reverses and whips Yano into railings.

Sanada then goes after Yano, wanting to use camera cables to hog tie Yano, but Yano shoves him away and into the crowd! The count reaches and Yano hurries into the ring. Sanada hurries, too, and narrowly beats the count at 19! Fans applaud and chant as Yano goes after Sanada with stomps. Yano takes off his shirt to choke Sanada, but the referee counts. Yano lets go at 4, then goes back to stomping Sanada. He whips but Sanada reverses again, Yano holds onto ropes. He baits Sanada in then dodges, but runs into Sanada’s headscissors. Yano ends up outside the ring again and Sanada goes over. Sanada slingshots over and knocks Yano down. Fans applaud again while Sanada brings Yano up to rake the back.

Sanada searches for something under the ring but Yano pounces and pushes him into a post. Yano grabs his “director’s chair” and swings, but Sanada ducks to let the chair hit post. Then Sanada kicks the chair into Yano’s face!

Sanada leaves Yano out for the count now, and it reaches 17! Yano stirs but beats the count at 19, too. Sanada argues with the referee but Yano did make it in. Sanada takes his frustrations out by stomping Yano. He then drags Yano up for a haymaker, and more stomps. Sanada brings Yano up again but Yano fights back! They brawl with forearms back and forth, but Sanada knees low. He goes to run but Yano grabs him by the hair and brings him down to a pin! TWO, but Yano hurries to untie a corner pad. Sanada runs at Yano but Yano gets away, corner pad in hand. Yano runs back in but Sanada dodges, and Yano hits the buckles he himself exposed!

Sanada runs in but Yano dodges, and Sanada runs into the buckles, too. Yano drags Sanada, in the dragon sleeper! He lifts Sanada but Sanada slips out into his own dragon sleeper. But then Yano reverses into the Urakasumi fisherman cradle! TWO, but very close! Yano and Sanada slowly stand, and Sanada kicks Yano. Sanada runs but into an atomic drop, and then Yano catapults Sanada at those exposed buckles! Yano grabs Sanada and lifts for a powerbomb, but Sanada sunset flips out. TWO, and Sanada goes after Yano, but Yano grabs for the ref! It’s a distraction so Yano can low blow Sanada with a mule kick!

Then back to the Urakasumi! But Sanada blocks the count! He pushes the referee away and gets out of the cover. Fans applaud while both men stand. Yano argues with the ref, but Sanada low blows Yano with a kick! Then Sanada puts Yano in the Skull End!

Yano taps, Sanada wins!

Winner: Sanada, by submission

Los Ingobernables’ Cold Skull takes care of #YTR in quick fashion, but he’s not done with him. Sanada puts Yano in the Paradise Lock, and stands over him as the conqueror. Then when the referee protests, Sanada does the same to him! A young lion tries to undo the lock, but Sanada catches him into one! Another young lion protests, but Sanada scares him off with the threat of being the fourth victim. Sanada leaves Yano, the referee and the random trainee in the ring like this. Will he leave his semifinals opponent the same way?

 

Kota Ibushi VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku!

It’s The Golden Star and the Technical Wizard in a highly anticipated match that’s already amazing just because it’s happening! Will the former New Japan Cup winner make his way to a possible repeat? Or will he #JustTapOut to ZSJ’s arsenal of sinister submissions?

But before the match, fellow Suzuki-Gun member Taka speaks. “The 2018 New Japan Cup. Who do you think will take it?” He wants to know what fans think the result of this match will be. And he asks again, who will win the New Japan Cup? It’s “the man who can finish an opponent with a joint lock anytime, anywhere, the man with unlimited submission holds, the man who beat Tetsuya Naito in the first round.” That man is “the master of submissions”, Zack Sabre Jr! Some fans cheer and some boo while Taka finishes with a message “to anyone who stands in his way: Just Tap Out!” And with that, Taka shouts for Ibushi to “come on over here” so this match can begin!

Fans cheer for Ibushi as he enters the ring. The bell rings, and the chants fire up already. Ibushi and ZSJ circle, feeling each other out. ZSJ reaches in but Ibushi slips away, but they circle again. ZSJ gets the headlock and wrangles Ibushi down to go after arms. Ibushi sits up but ZSJ gets a chinlock, then brings Ibushi back to an armlock and a cover, ONE. The fans applaud this great opening exchange while the two men get up and circle again. Ibushi is wary of ZSJ as they tie up, ZSJ pushes him to ropes. ZSJ honors the break, but still pie-faces Ibushi. Ibushi shrugs that off, and the two circle again. They reach in at each other and now Ibushi pushes ZSJ to the ropes. ZSJ calls for the break, as does Red Shoes, and Ibushi honors it, to then swing a roundhouse!

ZSJ narrowly avoids the hit, and keeps between the ropes for safety. Ibushi backs up so ZSJ can come out, and the two circle again. The two tie up again and ZSJ gets a barbed wire armlock and pushes Ibushi over to a cover, but Ibushi keeps shoulders up. ZSJ makes it a mount then a headscissors hold. Ibushi works his way around to get the ropebreak, and ZSJ lets Ibushi go. The two stand once again and circle to tie up once again. ZSJ gets the wristlock and bends Ibushi’s arm back into a top lock. He sits Ibushi down, and adds on a chinlock for a modified crossface. Ibushi endures the bend and reaches for ropes but ZSJ shifts right to a half-surfboard. ZSJ turns Ibushi away and digs his forehead into Ibushi’s back for more torque.

Ibushi works and turns the hold around to put ZSJ in that hold! ZSJ stands up and breaks out to hit Ibushi with a European Uppercut! Ibushi hits back with a forearm and ZSJ falls down. Ibushi hits him again and then kicks him down. ZSJ gets up but Ibushi just kicks his leg out again. Ibushi targets that thigh with more kicks while ZSJ is down. ZSJ stands and catches that kick into a heel hook! Ibushi drags himself to ropes and gets the break just as ZSJ shifts to include one of Ibushi’s arms in the hold. ZSJ has to let Ibushi go, but he’s still got control while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and ZSJ stands on Ibushi’s leg while twisting the other. ZSJ tortures both Ibushi’s legs at the same time, then stomps the back of a thigh. Fans cheer for Ibushi but ZSJ is on him again, grinding his wrist tape and forearm into Ibushi’s eyes. ZSJ then grinds a knee into Ibushi’s face while going after the leg again. ZSJ suddenly shirts to a standing knee wrench! He even adds a bridge!

ZSJ doesn’t hold it long, he goes right back to the heel hook. Ibushi tries to use his free leg, so ZSJ grabs it to twist its ankle. Ibushi uses his hands to fight now, and gets that leg free to kick with it! ZSJ tries to bend that leg back again, but Ibushi still fights back, and gets another kick. The kicks are too much for ZSJ, he lets Ibushi free of the knee wrench. Fans rally for Ibushi and he kicks ZSJ again. Ibushi snapmares and kicks ZSJ in the back, then dares ZSJ to get up. ZSJ does, and snapmares Ibushi down to scrape his heels on Ibushi’s face. ZSJ then traps the arm and spins around to twist it! Ibushi writhes and clutches his arm, but ZSJ takes a moment to catch his breath.

ZSJ goes back to Ibushi to grind his knuckles into various points. Ibushi gets the ropebreak but ZSJ doesn’t care, he just puts an arm in a figure four scissors. The referee counts so ZSJ lets go, but he then goes back to Ibushi to continue torturing that arm all the way to the wrist. ZSJ uses his chin to dig in and bend the arm more, then rocks Ibushi with another EuroUpper. Fans rally for Ibushi while he and ZSJ glare at each other. ZSJ gives another EuroUpper, then a running one, and then runs corner to corner. Ibushi goes up and over, and he throws ZSJ with a huricanrana! Ibushi kicks ZSJ down, and the fans chant for him while both he and ZSJ are down on the mat.

That leg bothers him, though, so he’s slow to standing up. ZSJ also stands, but Ibushi gives a strike fest and another swift roundhouse. ZSJ falls down, Ibushi adds a standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Ibushi again as he stands up. Ibushi drags ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the Half ‘n’ Half. ZSJ gets the standing switch but Ibushi prevents the full nelson to standing switch back. ZSJ switches again and puts Ibushi in a modified abdominal stretch!

Ibushi endures the bend, stretch and digging elbows as ZSJ shifts through all sorts of minor changes. ZSJ settles on a chinlock variant, but Ibushi wills himself to walk towards ropes. Ibushi reaches but ZSJ shifts to a crossface variant! Ibushi still gets the ropebreak, and ZSJ lets go in frustration. Taka coaches ZSJ to keep going, so ZSJ stands and brings Ibushi up. ZSJ rocks Ibushi with another EuroUpper but Ibushi hits back with a forearm. ZSJ hits another EuroUpper, but Ibushi comes back with another elbow! Fans rally while ZSJ gives more and more EuroUppers, but then Ibushi slips around to hit the Half ‘n’ Half Suplex! Cover, TWO!

Fans are fired up for Ibushi and he fires up with them. Taka coaches ZSJ to get up but Ibushi is upon him. Ibushi goes to lift ZSJ but ZSJ slips under and trips Ibushi up. ZSJ then rolls Ibushi for a bridging cover, TWO, but into an STF! ZSJ then changes it up again to be combination STF and chickenwing crossface. Ibushi reaches but then ZSJ grabs that arm to shift things into a partial straitjacket. Ibushi moves the other arm to reach forward, but ZSJ grabs it to complete the straitjacket.

ZSJ and Ibushi struggle against each other, and somehow Ibushi gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets him go and fans rally for Ibushi all over again. The two slowly stand, but ZSJ grabs Ibushi first. Ibushi arm-drags ZSJ away, runs into ZSJ’s EuroUpper, but retaliates with the Pele! Both men are down, ZSJ reeling while fans will Ibushi on. Ibushi brings ZSJ up in the powerbomb position, but ZSJ makes it into a triangle hold. Ibushi endures the hold, drags ZSJ around, then deadlifts him for a sit-out powerbomb!

Cover, TWO! Ibushi has turned the tides while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns to Ibushi slowly standing. That leg still bothers him, but he still signals he’ll end this with that knee. He walks over to ZSJ and Taka panics, but ZSJ rolls to pop Ibushi into a sunset cover, TWO and Ibushi covers ZSJ, TWO back ZSJ’s way! TWO but it was so close! Fans are thunderous for Ibushi as the two crawl over to each other. ZSJ kicks Ibushi’s bad knee then his chest, but Ibushi kicks back. Ibushi reaches for ZSJ but ZSJ kicks him near the face, so Ibushi dares him to do more. ZSJ slaps Ibushi so Ibushi slaps back! Another slap for a slap, so ZSJ goes back to a kick. Ibushi kicks back, then shifts things to forearms.

They hit each other back and forth, Ibushi continuing to egg ZSJ on. ZSJ stands up and stomps Ibushi right in the neck! He drags Ibushi up for another EuroUpper, but Ibushi wants more. ZSJ gives him more, so Ibushi gives back. They go EuroUpper for forearm, and Ibushi gets the edge. Ibushi reels back for another but ZSJ kicks that away to then Pele Ibushi’s arm! Ibushi roundhouses and clotheslines ZSJ down! Both men fall and the fans rally for Ibushi while Taka coaches ZSJ.

Ibushi is up first, but he’s sore and exhausted. ZSJ sits up, Ibushi goes for the buzzsaw but ZSJ catches it! ZSJ then yanks Ibushi down and catches him with the Penalty Kick! Taka wants him to keep going, so ZSJ stands up. ZSJ kicks again, but Ibushi blocks it! Ibushi stands up, ZSJ slaps him again and again, but Ibushi holds on to slap back! Fans are thunderous again while ZSJ flounders. Ibushi waits for ZSJ to run at him, and catches him with a powerslam! Ibushi immediately moonsaults, but into ZSJ’s triangle!!

The hold is in, both arms trapped inside! ZSJ shifts it around to a one arm with the figure four headscissors, and then he grabs the trapped arm. Ibushi clasps hands to prevent the extension, but ZSJ drives elbows into Ibushi’s head. Red Shoes checks on Ibushi, but Ibushi is still conscious. Ibushi fires up again, he gets another deadlift! He tries the Last Ride but ZSJ pops out to put on the Octopus stretch! Ibushi endures, pops out and swings ZSJ around onto his shoulder. He aims for a corner but ZSJ slips out the back. Ibushi runs at ZSJ but ZSJ back elbows him away. ZSJ slaps Ibushi again, then runs, but the back elbow is turned into a backslide! ZSJ rolls through, and sees Kamigoye coming, to duck under and cross Ibushi’s arms.

Ibushi resists and pulls ZSJ back around, for the straitjacket suplex pin! TWO!! But Ibushi keeps hold of the wrists! Kamigoye misses and ZSJ puts the Octopus back on!! He even shifts it to be part motorcycle stretch, using his foot to push Ibushi’s head down. ZSJ kicks and kicks Ibushi in the head, and fully bends the arms back! Red Shoes asks Ibushi, but Ibushi shakes his head “No”, even as ZSJ gives stomps and elbows. ZSJ cranks on the hold as hard as he can but Ibushi won’t quit. Fans are at a fever pitch as ZSJ turns Ibushi around. Ibushi is stuck, Red Shoes calls it! ZSJ wins!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by referee stoppage

Ibushi didn’t tap but he couldn’t defend himself anymore, so Red Shoes had no choice but to spare Ibushi more suffering. In the end, the submission machine of Suzuki-Gun still moves on to the next round.

Taka takes to the mic again. “Kota Ibushi versus Zack Sabre Jr, who won?” And who will Zack face in the semifinals? Sanada, this is your chance. Come out and say something! “Come on over!” But he’s not coming out. Not that he’d say anything anyway. Taka says Sanada is next, because “anyone who stands in Zack’s way, you just tap out!” So Taka will ask again: “Who will take the 2018 New Japan Cup?” Zack! Who? Zack!! Yes, the winner will be the man with unlimited holds and now defeated both Naito and Ibushi, the Submission Mater, Zack Sabre Jr! He has two belts already, will ZSJ win it all to add a third?

 

Backstage interviews.

Kota Ibushi admits defeat, his New Japan Cup run is over. He had lots of support from the fans who felt he could win it all, but he let them down. Ibushi apologizes and hopes they forgive him.

As for ZSJ, he knows he’ll wake up the next morning as if he spent a “fortnight in a bad moon.” He admits Ibushi is strong, powerful and fights with a lot of heart. That’s admirable, but stupid. ZSJ doesn’t fight with his heart, he fights with his brain. “And an underlying hatred of the British Conservative Party,” but mostly his superior brain. He’s the dark horse, right? Not favored? What’s wrong with these people? Just look outside! He’s won titles everywhere he’s been! “This cup is mine!” But he’s gonna go ice now, so he leaves Taka to finish.

Taka knows everyone saw what just happened. Ibushi had the whole crowd while ZSJ only had Taka while “fighting in a foreign land.” ZSJ’s heart, mind and skill, but the best is yet to come. There are no flukes here. Naito, Ibushi, and next will be Sanada. Sanada, bring it on! Because as always, fighting ZSJ means “You Just Tap Out!” The semifinals will feature Cold Skull’s Skull End going against ZSJ’s limitless list of holds, which one will get the job done?

 


 

My Thoughts:

This was a pretty good way to cover the quarterfinals in one night. The summarized coverage of Elgin VS Juice and Tanahashi VS Fale were well done to give us the best moments. Juice has been doing great so it made sense he went over, even if it was a bit of a surprise when against a veteran like Elgin. Fale obviously gets upset over losing in only a count-out but it still makes him pretty strong, as the returning Tanahashi couldn’t put him away with a pin or submission. Seeing Juice VS Tanahashi in the semifinals makes for a great young vs old story.

Then seeing the entirety of the rather short Sanada VS Yano match was fun, because it still hit all the finest points of a Yano match: buckle pad, low blow, and a touch of comedy. Yano loses because Sanada has been on his own roll in singles competition. All the members of LIJ are strong, so if Sanada and EVIL were to drop those IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, Sanada would be just fine if he were to try for a singles title. And the entirety of Ibushi VS ZSJ was the perfect choice for the match of the show, because it was amazing. Great story and contrast in style, and ZSJ wins out because he’s been on the best roll of all these winners. By this time, we already know [Highlight for spoilers] Sabre wins it all, but it was booked so well that it feels natural as opposed to inevitable.

My Score: 8.5/10


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