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

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Dolph Ziggler VS Baron Corbin; no contest.
  • Charlotte Flair VS Sarah Logan w/ The Riott Squad; Charlotte wins.
  • Baron Corbin VS Kevin Owens; Corbin wins and enters the WWE Championship match to make it a Fatal 4 Way.
  • WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: Bobby Roode VS ???; no contest.
  • The New Day VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable; The New Day wins.
  • Dolph Ziggler VS Sami Zayn; Ziggler wins and enters the WWE Championship match to make it a Fatal 5 Way.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dolph Ziggler VS Baron Corbin!

And after an initial record scratch, The Show-Off’s theme music actually does play. The Show-Off left SmackDown after vacating the United States Championship when he felt the fans weren’t worthy of his presence, but then he returned via the Royal Rumble match. Now he has an opportunity to leap over many other superstars and enter the WWE Championship match here tonight.

As for The Lone Wolf, his music plays from the start, yet he doesn’t come out. That’s because Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn are beating Corbin down to make sure he can’t compete! But Corbin doesn’t go down easy, he rocks both men back with heavy rights, only to be brought down by the 2v1 again. They even throw him into spare bins nearby!

“NOW that’s it!” One down, one to go, #Kami heads for the ring! Ziggler knows full well they’re on their way and gets ready for a fight. The fans boo as #Kami appears at the stage. Kevin sends Sami off to the side, and while Ziggler watches where the Underdog is going, the Prizefighter comes up the ramp. Ziggler intercepts Sami and they brawl in the bleachers! He bounces Saim off trunks but then Kevin comes in and it’s another 2v1 advantage! Sami throws Ziggler into the side of a trash barrel, and then Kevin slams the lid on Ziggler. The best friends clearly don’t want anyone else joining them against AJ Styles at Fastlane. Even so, Ziggler keeps fighting, until he’s pushed into a post. Kevin drags Ziggler up, for Sami’s HELLUVA KICK!

Ziggler goes down in a heap and #Kami stands tall while the fans boo and jeer. The referee backs them off, but the damage is done. However, Corbin returns! He takes them both on, but that’s still not enough with the numbers on #Kami’s side.

Kevin throws Corbin into the side rails, and security comes out to finally get them to stop. The fans boo and jeer harder, what will SmackDown management’s response be to this?

 

Charlotte Flair VS Sarah Logan w/ The Riott Squad!

The Queen of Flair and SmackDown Women’s Champion is on a mission to handle this trouble-making trio herself. She already beat Liv Morgan last week, now she wants #KentuckyStrong tonight. Can Charlotte go 2-0 in this unofficial best of three series? However, to make sure The Squad isn’t a factor, Charlotte has her own back-up in the form of The Lass Kicker and Ms. Glow Time!

The bell rings and both sides cheer on their woman. Sarah backs Charlotte down but Charlotte fires right back out. They tie up, push back and forth, then separate when neither gets anyway. They go again, Sarah with the waistlock and judo throw. Charlotte resists but Sarah maintains the hold. Sarah throws Charlotte down again and keeps back control as Charlotte tries to get free. They stand up, but Sarah brings Charlotte down again. Charlotte keeps working to get out of the hold, but Sarah shirts to a facelock. Sarah backs Charlotte down but Charlotte rolls and reverses into her own facelock. Charlotte throws Sarah now with a hip toss, then boots her down and out of the ring! We go picture in picture as The Squad regroups.

Ruby and Liv coach Sarah back up and into the ring. Charlotte gets Sarah in a waistlock and returns the slam now. Now Sarah works to get free, throwing a back elbow. She puts Charlotte into a headlock, Charlotte powers out and Sarah rolls to run her over. Cover, ONE, then Charlotte runs Sarah over. Charlotte rocks Sarah with a big knee, then styles and profiles like her father. Sarah comes back with forearms but Charlotte gives one of her own. Sarah runs but Charlotte knocks her down again with a back elbow. Charlotte drags Sarah up and to a corner for a buckle bump. She brings Sarah out and tries again but Sarah reverse, bumping Charlotte off the buckles. Sarah whips corner to corner but Charlotte tumbles to the apron. Charlotte shoulders in, slingshot roll-up, TWO. Charlotte rolls Sarah again, ONE, and Sarah hits Charlotte low. Sarah whips and reels Charlotte into another knee, then gives a dropkick that sends Charlotte out of the ring. The Squad troll the Queen but Naomi & Becky back them off. Charlotte climbs back up but Sarah gets her on reentry. Sarah gives forearms and stomps in a corner, only stopping to snapmare and wrap on a straitjacket hold. Sarah thrashes Charlotte around and the Squad likes it. Charlotte gets to her feet but Sarah gets the waistlock. Charlotte works to get out as we go single picture.

Standing switch and a German Suplex puts Charlotte back in control! The Squad panics as Charlotte lifts Sarah, but Sarah sips out to chop Charlotte.

That wasn’t good, because now Charlotte unloads her chops! Charlotte chops Sarah on the ropes, even in the shoulder, then whips to scoop. Sarah slips out and tackles from behind, cover, TWO! Sarah keeps on Charlotte with a rain of rights, then stomps and kicks her around. Charlotte gets up but Sarah throws her with a butterfly suplex. Cover, TWO, the Squad grows frustrated. Sarah puts Charlotte back in the straitjacket stretch while fans rally. The Squad trolls Charlotte again even as the rally builds. Charlotte gets up, Sarah whips her, but Charlotte evades and gives a big knee strike. Sarah staggers but comes back with a shotgun knee! Cover, TWO! Sarah keeps going, kicking and stomping Charlotte again, then rains down forearms. Cover, TWO, but Sarah keeps on Charlotte with an armlock, and even grinds a knee into Charlotte’s shoulder. The fans keep cheering for Charlotte, and Charlotte feeds off that to get up, only for Sarah to lariat her down. Cover, TWO! The Squad can’t believe this. Charlotte kicks and chops back, then goes to boot but Sarah evades! With Charlotte stuck on the rope, Sarah German Suplexes, covers, TWO! Sarah’s frustration reaches an all-time high and she just gives rough shots to Charlotte. Charlotte fires up from it and hits back hard! Charlotte runs in but Sarah sends her face first into buckles! They both stagger up, Charlotte hits a backbreaker and then shot into the buckles, Natural Selection!

Charlotte wins! The Queen goes 2-0 on the Squad, can she beat Ruby to make it a sweep?

 

SmackDown management meets backstage.

Shane McMahon addresses the issue. Kevin & Sami are the guys Daniel Bryan wants to be WWE Champion? “It’s not going down like that.” Shane talked to Corbin and Ziggler before coming in here. Corbin will take on Kevin, Ziggler will take on Sami, and if either of them wins, or even both of them, they’ll each be added. But if Kevin interferes with Sami and Sami interferes with Kevin, they’re thrown out. The Commissioner has spoken, is this going to work in his favor?

 

Baron Corbin VS Kevin Owens!

As Shane McMahon just said, the only way Kevin can keep The Lone Wolf out of Fastlane’s WWE Championship match is to win fair and square in the ring! Can The Prizefighter beat up Corbin without the Underdog helping him?

The bell rings and Kevin goes right at Corbin with body shots and mudhole stomps in a corner. Corbin fires back with heavy rights, but then Kevin slips out of the ring to catch his breath. Corbin shouts for Kevin to get back in the ring, but Kevin doesn’t. So Corbin takes the fight to him on the outside! They brawl back and forth, then Corbin puts Kevin back in the ring. Kevin pounces on reentry, stomping away on Corbin in the ribs he and Sami damaged earlier. He puts Corbin in a corner, whips but Corbin reverses. Corbin runs in but Kevin boots him away, only to get rocked on the ropes with that right hand! Kevin tumbles down and out, but Corbin is a step ahead of him. He comes around the corner to then put Kevin into barriers. Corbin keeps going, rocking Kevin with knees and another barrier bump. The referee orders them to get back in the ring, so Corbin puts Kevin back in. Kevin sips right back out then rams Corbin into the apron, and a post! Kevin brings Corbin up and into the ring now, keeping on those bad ribs. He elbows and stomps Corbin more, then brings him up to put him in a corner. He whips corner to corner, but Corbin slips out then in, into a mule kick to the gut. CANNONBALL! Cover, TWO, and Kevin is upset while we go to break.

SmackDown returns to see Corbin reverse a whip to send Kevin into barriers again!

Kevin staggers away but then evades to send Corbin into steel steps! The referee checks on Corbin while Sami watches backstage. Kevin fetches Corbin to put him back in the ring, then hits the back senton! Cover, TWO! Kevin hurries to put on a chinlock even as he complains, “That was three!” The fans rally for Corbin as he endures the hold. Corbin sits up and then works his way up to his feet. Kevin rams knees into Corbin, then runs, but into a Choke Slam Backbreaker! Both men are down and slowly stirring. Kevin gets himself to the ropes while Corbin stands up and fans rally. Corbin throws forearms, one big forearm knocking Kevin down. He runs in, slides out then in, lariat! Cover, TWO! Corbin is too sore to be frustrated as he gets up. Kevin is in a corner again and begging for mercy, but Corbin instead hoists him up to the top rope. Corbin rocks Kevin with another right before climbing up to join him. Kevin fights back, knocking Corbin off the top with headbutts. Kevin slips down, then evades again to send Corbin into a post! Roll up, TWO! Kevin stomps then climbs up top, but Corbin grabs him by the throat! Kevin fights back then hot shots Corbin, only to run into Deep Six! Corbin can’t cover yet, his ribs hurt too much.

Even so, he drags himself up to his feet and brings Kevin in, SUPERKICK instead! Then Kevin throws Kevin to ropes, Corbin holds ropes, then gets End of Days! Corbin WINS! The Lone Wolf adds himself to the championship match to make it a Fatal 4 Way! Can Sami keep it together to keep it at only four?

 

SmackDown Top Ten List!

As of last week the list was:

  1. AJ Styles
  2. Charlotte Flair
  3. Shinsuke Nakamura
  4. Naomi
  5. Bobby Roode
  6. The New Day
  7. The Usos
  8. Becky Lynch
  9. Randy Orton
  10. Tye Dillinger

Everyone from fans to superstars were both congratulatory and confused to at least one entry or another. Can The Perfect Ten remain in the Top Ten? Will he move up? Or will someone completely off the list jump on to bump him off?

 

WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: Bobby Roode VS ???

The GLORIOUS One is a fighting champion and is open to giving any superstar that wants at him their title opportunity. “From the moment I won this championship, I said I wanted to be the greatest United States Champion.” In order to do that, he had to steal a tradition for a man he wants to surpass, and that man is John Cena. Say what you will but Cena defended the US Championship week in and week out. Now Roode takes great pride in keeping the US Championship Open Challenge alive. Obviously this is for anyone in the back, but Roode hopes a certain someone meets him “face to face, rather than coming out here with an RKO outta nowhere.” We wait for someone to accept, and it IS Randy Orton!

The Viper has never held the United States Championship, and perhaps he will finally become a Grand Slam Champion. However, before the match can begni, the Modern Day Maharaja appears!

Jinder Mahal speaks, “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Viper, Randy Orton!” Mahal knows that at least the WWE Unvierse respects Orton. But it seems the SmackDown roster doesn’t, since they only saw him as 9th out of 10. The 13 time world champion, a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate, from Legacy to Evolution to the face of the WWE, but only 9th as voted by his peers. Orton and Mahal have had their ups and downs, wins and losses, but Mahal still respects Orton. The fans chant “RKO!” as if to signal they want him to give one to Mahal. Mahal continues, telling Orton that everyone else on SmackDown thinks Orton’s “already peaked.” Orton responds, “Jinder, I don’t give a damn about any top ten list!” He expects Mahal to believe that? Orton’s been here for 16 years, but he’s only 9th. Yet Roode is 5th after only sixth months. Orton’s life has been dedicated to wrestling, yet he’s outdone by a newcomer. The fans chant “RKO!” even louder now.

Mahal repeats that he respects Orton, but Roode thinks himself the future Legend Killer. Roode responds, “Those are some pretty big words from a man who couldn’t even make the top ten.”

And why is that? “Because nobody here respects you!” And in terms of respect, Roode has nothing but for Orton’s career. But if he were to say why Orton’s only 9th, it’s because everyone in the locker room is getting sick and tired of getting attacked “out of nowhere.” Like, when he does this? RKO to Singh! They brawl, Roode wants his DDT but Orton wants an RKO, both are denied and Mahal gets the KALAS!! Roode goes down, then Mahal grabs Orton, for another Kalas! The Modern Day Maharaja stands tall, proclaiming that he doesn’t need respect. The Open Challenge is cancelled for tonight, but will Mahal be first in line the next time?

 

The New Day VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable!

Awwwwwwwwww… CALIFORNIA~!” The Power of Positivity is here with Booty O’s and pancakes a plenty! They even have a table loaded with even more flapjacks!

“Today is a very special day”, it’s “Fat Tuesday”! Or in this case, Pancake Tuesday, “babyyyyy~!” In order to celebrate, Big E will “destroy the record” of eating 113 pancakes in eight minutes. How does he feel? “Good.” Okay. Who wants to see Big E break the record? The WWE Universe does. Xavier Woods counts it down, and Big E begins! He tries to shove fist fulls of pancakes into his mouth, but has he even gotten one down?

Gable & Benjamin come out to ruin the fun.

“Wow. This is great, guys, really.” When Gable was training for the Olympics, this is exactly what he imagined being part of. Good job, guys, really. Benjamin also says this is great. What The New Day has done for pancakes is “astronomical.” They should go on the road, or open up a restaurant. And when they do, they can leave the SmackDown Tag Team Division in the hands of “serious competitors.” “Honey~,” are you saying Kofi isn’t a serious competitor? That Big E isn’t a serious competitor? That Xavier Woods is not a serious competitor? The New Day remind Gable & Benjamin that they set the record for longest reigning W, W, E, tag, team, CHAMPIONS! And who even wants these two as champs? Who who who? “NOBODY!” “SHUSH!” So they have a serious side? What would happen if Gable were to… throw a pancake on the floor? They didn’t ilk that, did they? Then what if Benjamin, tossed a pancake on the floor? Benjamin flapped a jack. Oh, go for the big one. Big E defends his pancakes.. “Don’t you touch our cakes!” Settle down, Big E. They have news for The New Day: “Nobody likes pancakes.” The fans boo, who would ever not like pancakes? Benjamin & Gable say it’s time for waffles! And the pancakes go flying! The New Day have to hold Big E back, until this match officially begins.

We go picture in picture as both teams go to their corners. Big E is still furious, but passes out pancakes while the table is taken away. The official team for The New Day will be Big E and Kofi, with Woods taking over passing out pancakes like Frisbees. Gable and Big E start with the bell, Big E runs Gable over as payback for the flapjacks. Tag to Kofi, and the running low… twerk! Then the kick. Cover, TWO, and Gable powers Kofi into a slam! Cover, ONE, tag to Benjamin. Kofi fights back but gets clubbed down 2v1. Benjamin puts Kofi in a corner for right hands and stomps while we go back to single picture.

Benjamin whips Kofi corner to corner, but Kofi slips out to kick him away. Kofi climbs up, but Gable distracts. Kofi jumps over Benjamin, but runs into a pop-up knee! Cover, TWO, Benjamin drags Kofi up to whip him into the corner. Tag to Gable, they stomp Kofi again. Gable slams Kofi’s arm on the mat, then wrenches it. Cover, TWO, Gable keeps Kofi grounded with an armlock. The fans rally and Kofi gets to his feet. Kofi reaches for Big E while fighting back against Gable. He arm-drags Gable away but Gable comes back with the rolling kick! TWO, but Gable keeps his focus. He tags Benjamin back in and they focus on that arm. Kofi fights back but ends up in the enemy corner. Gable tags in and they both stomp Kofi out. Tag back to Benjamin, double whip but Kofi kicks back. He throws Gable out but Benjamin gets the waistlock. Kaofi escapes, but Gable trips up Big E! Woods calls him out, protesting to the referee. However, Benjamin turns Woods around to rock him with a right! Benjamin returns to embrace the heat while Kofi gets to a corner. Kofi responds with jumping double stomps! The fans rally, both men crawl for their corners, and hot tags to Gable and Big E! Big E throws Gable overhead! Then again! Then, the side belly2belly slam! Big E fires up and swivels those hips before running, Big Splash! He isn’t done there, he rallies the fans again. Big E scoops but Gable slips out, waistlock to Chaos Theory!

Both men are down and crawling for their corners again. Woods distracts so that the tag to Benjamin doesn’t count! Kofi comes in and dropkicks Benjamin out. Gable throws Kofi out, then argues with the ref, but turns into the scoop! Tag to Kofi, Midnight Hour! The New Day wins! Is that serious enough for Gable & Benjamin?

 

Backstage interview with Dolph Ziggler.

Ever since giving up the US Championship, he was gone. Now he’s back, and he admits to be selectively picking his spots. He finds himself primed for another opportunity. Ziggler lives for this, he loves this! Because it’s about doing what he’s been put on this planet to do, and that’s perform in that ring. Ziggler vows no one will outshine him, and that’s why “those cowards” had to attack him together. It’ll take more than just that attack to stop Ziggler. The reason Ziggler is back, the only reason he’s back in the WWE is for one thing only, the thing that eludes him to this day: the main event of Wrestlemania. “And I’ll be damned if I don’t walk in there as WWE Champion.” Can the Show-Off make the most of this opportunity?

 

The Usos speak.

They’ve been telling us for weeks how they have the SmackDown Tag Team Division #OnLock, and how there isn’t a tag team around that can match them. They try to but it’s lights out! Other teams stand up, but they get sat back down. These two are brothers, true brothers from the Samoan Bloodline, “ride or die.” From the womb to the tomb, they welcome you to the “Uso Penitentiary!” But then The Bludgeon Brothers break the screen! Harper & Rowan have made their case, can they break out of the Penitentiary?

 

Kevin finds Sami Zayn at gorilla.

He apologizes to Sami for messing up. Now it’s a Fatal 4 Way, and could become a Fatal 5! Sami can’t lose, don’t let Kevin down! Oh don’t let Kevin down? There is no “we” in the coming match, it’s every man for himself. The music hits, and Sami heads to the ring.

Dolph Ziggler VS Sami Zayn!

This may be the make-or-break match for the returning Show-Off on this Road to Wrestlemania. Can he steal the show from the Underdog to then try and steal the title from the Phenomenal One at Fastlane? They circle even before the bell, but we have to go to break.

SmackDown returns and the bell rings, Ziggler going right at Sami. Sami gets to a corner for safety, and Ziggler is forced to back off. He dares Sami to come out but Sami waits for him to stay back. Ziggler rushes Saim again but sami gets back between the ropes for safety. Fans boo and jeer while Kevin watches backstage. Sami and Ziggler circle, Ziggler gets the waistlock but Sami gets to the ropes. The ropebreak is tense, and Sami tells teh ref to do his job. Sami and Ziggler circle again, Ziggler gets the leg then the facelock, but Sami still gets to ropes. Ziggler lets go but Sami has a hold on him. Cheap shot headbutt to the ribs from Sami, then Sami backs off to a corner again. Ziggler dares Sami to come out again. They tie up, scuffle up to ropes again, and the break is no longer clean as Ziggler rocks Sami with a right. He keeps going, giving Sami a neckbreaker. Sami gets to a corner again, Ziggler hits the corner splash and another neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, Sami rolls all the way out. He walks around the ring to cool off, but fans boo and jeer. Sami takes his time returning into the ring, and circles with Ziggler again. They tie up, Sami puts Ziggler in a corner and clubs away with forearms to the back of Ziggler’s haed. The referee backs him off, but Sami comes back to boot-wash Ziggler right out to the apron. Sami drags Ziggler up and around, for a rope guillotine. Ziggler clutches his neck as he rolls away, Sami trolls him about the bad neck while he grinds a knee into it.

Sami backs off while Ziggler gets himself to a corner. Sami embraces the heat before rocking Ziggler with rights. He stalks Ziggler but Ziggler fights back with haymakers of his own. Sami powers Ziggler to another corner and keeps up the attack. He drags Ziggler up for a chop, then whips corner to corner. Ziggler reverses and runs in but gets a back elbow. Sami hops up, boots Ziggler away, then flies for a dropkick to knock him out of the air!

He clutches his jaw as he spills out of the ring, we go to break.

SmackDown returns again to find Sami holding Ziggler down in a chinlock. The fans rally and Ziggler fights his way up, but Sami whips him to the ropes to run him over with a clothesline. Cover, TWO, and Sami grows frustrated. He toys with Ziggler, kicking him while he’s down. Sami brings Ziggler up, but Ziggler escapes the suplex. Ziggler gets the waistlock but Sami elbows out, only for Ziggler to come back with the satellite DDT! Both men are down and Kevin worries backstage. The two slowly stir, and Ziggler gets running. Sami dodges, rolls, but Ziggler rolls out to hit the Famouser! TWO! Now Ziggler feels the frustration boiling up. Ziggler heads over to a corner, glances at the Wrestlemania sign then climbs up. Sami springs up to anchor him, Ziggler knocks him away, but Sami returns and trips him up! Sami rains rights on Ziggler before climbing up to join him. He prepares a superplex but Ziggler fights back. Ziggler throws haymakers but Sami hits back, getting Ziggler in position, SUPER EXPLODER!!

The impact is too much for Sami to make a cover, the referee starts a ten count. The count reaches 5 before they start standing up. Sami throws a hand but then Ziggler unloads, only for Sami to rock him back. Sami unloads more forearms then runs, but catches Ziggler’s dropkick to catapult him into buckles and post! Ziggler slumps down whiel Saim goes corner to corner, HElluva misses, ZIG ZAG HITS! TWO!! No one can believe Sami survived, but it also seems like Sami is moving on instinct. The fans declare “This is Awesome!” while both men slowly stir. Ziggler stalks the dazed Sami, swings a kick but Sami counters to throw him into the post! Sami staggers over and drags Ziggler out of the corner, to then throw him in again! Ziggler slumps to the apron but Sami keeps going, dragging Ziggler up onto his feet. Sami tries but Ziggler resists! Ziggler slips down, victory roll, TWO! Exploder into the buckles! Sami walks to the opposite corner, and takes aim at the battered Ziggler. Sami runs in, SUPERKICK outta nowhere! Ziggler wins!! The WWE Championship is now a Fatal FIVE Way! And Kevin is furious. With the odds shrinking to 1-in-5, who will walk out of Fastlane the champion to then face Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestlemania?!

 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown feels good again, at least to me. It looked to open with what I expected to be a main event, but then it takes another swerve and it becomes Kevin & Sami attacking both Corbin & Ziggler. Another swerve was that I thought it was gonna be a Teddy Long moment of “impromptu tag team match”, but with the championship match stipulation. Instead, we get two separate singles matches to fill the card, both with championship implications and both really great matches. But before those matches, there was a lot of other great stuff tonight, and mostly all focused around matches. Charlotte-Sarah was really great, Sarah is a lot more polished than it seemed from her limited time on NXT TV. Charlotte wins because she has to stay strong and it makes for effective story that she’s already the winner of her Riott Squad series. Ruby uses social media to challenge #RoyalGlowFire to a new Six Woman Tag and that match is made for next week, so perhaps they’ll save Charlotte VS Ruby to determine the sweep. Then the Open Challenge turning into a three-way brawl was actually a good segment, too. Mahal stands tall after incorporating the SmackDown Top Ten List results into motivation, so perhaps instead of just Orton VS Roode, it’ll be a triple threat. A triple threat will make a way for Roode to still look strong even if he ends up losing, such as Orton pinning Mahal instead. Personally, from best to worst scenario, it’s: Roode retains; Orton wins to become Grand Slam Champion; Mahal wins to set up a Wrestlemania rematch.

The tag team division also had a great showing with New Day VS Gable-Benjamin, which can be framed as comedy VS seriousness. Comedic entertainment or not, the New Day is still a top tag team in the WWE and win as such to prove their point. They can continue a rivalry with Benjamin & Gable into Fastlane since it will clearly be Usos VS Bludgeon Brothers. The combination promo from those two was brilliant, as Usos show their great abilities on the mic but then Harper & Rowan counter with a proper “no words, just actions” display. Then as I said, both Kevin-Corbin and Sami-Ziggler were great matches, befitting of the motivations behind them. Fans actually cheered for Corbin for once, that alone is something to be impressed by. Then Ziggler had the fans back on his side despite the insistence of his record scratch to open his entrance. Ziggler and Corbin may just be in the match to help keep Kevin & Sami strong in the case where Styles retains, but I’m personally hoping for something else thrown in to really spice things up, given SmackDown has an extra month to build this PPV up.

My Score: 8.5/10


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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.2 ~ 21ST SEPTEMBER 2018

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CURRENT TOUR RECAP

NOAH finished up their mammoth five day in a row event (14th September to the 18th September), fortunately no-one was injured, but both Hajime Ohara (neck) and Hi69 (knee) seem to be carrying injuries.

After losing the GHC Heavyweight Tag Title challenge against Naomichi Marufuji and Akitoshi Saito, Kaito Kiyomiya intimated that he would be interested in challenging for them again, but with another partner (i.e. Go Shiozaki). Shiozaki was seen watching Kaito Kiyomiya in the tag match against 50 Funky Powers in Hakata Stalene. Later in the tour he mentioned on Twitter about “shutting them up” and their GHC Heavyweight Tag Challenge

.Speaking of Go Shiozaki there was a very sweet moment that took place in Hakata, involving both himself and Atsushi Kotoge. When they made their entrance in their match against The Hooligans (Cody Hall and Maybach Taniguchi), a little boy could be seen dressed in a homemade “Revolutionary Cloak”. When Kotoge appeared the little boy and the little girl next to him (most probably his sister), did the revolutionary fist pumps (to the delight of Kotoge who joined in), and when he had gone, Shiozaki noticed, did it for half a second, and then went bright red (Shiozaki gets very shy when he has to do physical comedy, he also has a tendency to start giggling as well when others do it).
During the match, the brawl went into the crowd, and a little girl was upset by it and started crying. Go Shiozaki, gave her a hug to comfort her, and once back in the ring got The Hooligans in the corner, pointed to her and said “this is for you”, and proceeded to chop them.

Despite his claim to “bring the revolution to Hakata, and defeat the villains!”, Atsushi Kotoge took the Zwei Bomb from Taniguchi.

Naomichi Marufuji is still not accepting the challenge of The Hooligans, and gave a somewhat bad tempered promo in Ehime saying they were “a fool, a baldie” and “even though I am an asshole with a lack of sleep, I am going to crush you all. Come and line up with your heads bowed. I am not going to accept your challenge! I’m not in the mood!” Marufuji is still being obsessively hated by Kenoh, and he certainly has taken it from him on this tour, but the person the five days really belongs to, is Katsuhiko Nakajima, who utterly obliterated Takashi Sugiura and did the cocky pin on him. I don’t think anyone has ever at any time or anywhere ever done this…

Nakajima, being Nakajima, wasn’t finished there as he draped the belt over him, and then threw Sugiura out of the ring. When Sugiura had recovered and scraped himself off of the floor, Nakajima had gotten the microphone, and standing on the turnbuckle he told him that he would continue to plague him like he did today, he would plague him again tomorrow and the day after that and forever afterwards.

At the end of the five day tour, having been thoroughly battered by Nakajima, Takashi Sugiura said tiredly he couldn’t keep up and says that he has had no choice but to get better, and rethink his strategy. I can only imagine that Sugiura is playing the spider and the fly…

“Black or white, this is a league.” (Hi69) 

The NOAH Juniors, despite being divided over Junior Global League, are all gunning for Kotaro Suzuki (Hitoshi Kumano says that he is going to “crush the beat so no sound comes out”). Kotaro Suzuki has dismissed even the freelancers amongst the NOAH Juniors as being “weak”.

The biggest build so far is Daisuke Harada vs Kotaro Suzuki, which will take place in Yokohama (Suzuki has already lost to the other “elder” of the Juniors, Hajime Ohara). Daisuke Harada in Kochi, delivered the message to Suzuki that he would beat him down, and then he would “tell you this”…Harada spoke silently to the camera and walked off. Kotaro Suzuki later said that he had no idea what he was saying, but would find out before they faced each other.

Suzuki has made unflattering comments about various NOAH juniors, Hitsohi Kumano is “heavy” and “bulging with fat”, and Tadasuke, due to “too much hair treatment” is “greasy”.

Kotaro Suzuki, known for being just as “slippery” as Tadasuke (maybe even more) has promised something special for his “vision of Korakuen” (he also posted a picture of himself and Yoshinari Ogawa out drinking and said they were “discussing strategy”), well, whatever he has planned, it is probably a lot better than what Tadasuke has promised, he says that he may have to “poison the rice of the winning candidates” if he doesn’t win.

Suzuki and Harada clashed in a tag match on the 18th September on the last day of tour with Harada getting in his face with the belt, and Suzuki playing the innocent after attacking him while standing on the ring apron.

There has been no rift between The Backbreakers, with Hitoshi Kumano defeating Hajime Ohara. Kumano said he had to win, even though Ohara’s neck was very bad.
Part of his reasons for wanting to beat Ohara was due to the comments made by Daisuke Harada when he was aiming for the GHC Junior Heavyweight championship a few months ago, Harada had basically said that Kumano was “below Ohara” or that he was his “subordinate”.

Between RATELS, Daisuke Harada is too busy to comment on Tadasuke beating him, and YO-HEY and HAYATA still appear to be friends (better description might be master and pet).

Junta Miyawaki is still to get his first win, but the boy has earned a lot of accolades with people praising him and saying he was “insanely good” in his matches. NOAH are really teasing his first win with many near pinfalls.  He has also been likened to a young Kenta Kobashi, which means that now in NOAH we have almost the Four Pillars for a new generation with Misawa (Kiyomiya) and Kawada (Kenoh) – now we just need a Taue.

NOAH have had very good attendances out in the provinces for this tour, not all venues have been sold out, but attendances have been very high. The promotion has a policy whereby they travel outside of the metropolitan areas (i.e. Tokyo, Osaka) and the big city areas and bring the show to the “provinces” (i.e. the countryside or the more rural areas on the edge of the suburbs). While this doesn’t always result in a full house (something a lot of people don’t seem to understand and they think its a reflection on NOAH ), what it does do is bring a company who unlike New Japan, All Japan, Big Japan etc doesn’t have a streaming service and\or a TV show, to people who wouldn’t see them otherwise. They have also attracted a lot of new fans too.

Global Junior League Scores (as of 18th September 2018)
YO-HEY: 7
Ikuto Hidaka: 6
Daisuke Harada: 6
Kotaro Suzuki: 6
Hitoshi Kumano: 4
Tadasuke: 4
Hi69: 4
Minoru Tanaka: 4
HAYATA: 3
Hajime Ohara: 2
Seiya Morohashi: 2
Junta Miyawaki: 0

NOAH are back on the 29th September at Radiant Hall, Yokohama, bell sounds at 17.30

NEWS

QUIET STORM CELEBRATES 20 YEARS
Quiet Storm has celebrated his own twenty years in wrestling on the 16th September, he debuted in 1998 (about a month after Naomichi Marufuji did) at roughly the age of seventeen, and while in America had spells with Ring of Honor, PWF and NYWC. Quiet Storm made his debut in his hometown of New York (he’s a Brooklyn boy I think). He came to Japan and trained with KAIENTAI DOJO, but had to return home due to a family situation. Aside from NOAH, his other affiliation is with Osaka Pro. He has been with NOAH since 2014.

His tag team partner, Mohammed Yone, presented him with flowers in the ring.

GHC BELT NEWS

Current champions

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
  • GHC Junior Champion: Daisuke Harada
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69

OTHER NEWS

Atsushi Kotoge will be holding his own fan event, further details to be announced (this is not a produce)

Comedy wrestler Kikutaro (who returned to Japan to have ear surgery), announced that before he leaves for America, he wants to appear in NOAH(he was once a regular in SEM, where he memorably teamed with KENTA, who had him thrown out of the building afterwards, Kikutaro made his way back in though), and a match has been arranged against Atsushi Kotoge for the 4th October at Korakuen Hall. Kotoge has asked Kikutaro whether he wants to join the “Revolutionary Army”. What should be a very funny match, will be broadcast on Samurai on the 11th October (FYI: Fuji TV no longer exists, it is now “ForJoyTV“)

Naomichi Marufuji and Doug Williams will be having what will be their last match ever in IPW on Sunday the 23rd September. Their history was made not in NOAH or even in Japan, but in Europe. You can read about their history in an article I have written, “Farewell Europe

Hajime Ohara, (who quite rightly is called “NOAH’s treasure”), has taken part in more municipal activities in Kawasawki by lecturing the Staff Hygiene Committee about exercise that can be done at the office and at home.

Thanks to Metal-Noah who very kindly sent me a copy of “Heir to The Ark”, Naomichi Marufuji’s biography, English translation has started, and can be found here. This is a work in progress, and I hope to update it daily. The book is ranked #3 on the Japanese book charts. TOUR TIDBITS

  • Tadasuke used a chair on Seiya Morohashi (which is unusual for him).
  • Whilst in Shikoku, a big crab turned up on Hi69’s cigarette packet (its probably HAYATA shape-shifting)
  • The ceiling was so low in Hakata Stalene that people’s feet and heads grazed it.
  • Naomichi Marufuji watched “the youngsters” going off together after NOAH arrived in Kochi, and said “the old man is going to bed”
  • Tadasuke announced to Kotaro Suzuki “Hey, Fool! I am today’s NOAH Junior!” (and Kotaro Suzuki beat him down in ten minutes with the Tiger Driver)
  • Naomichi Marufuji wrapped Yoshiki Inamura in Atsushi Kotoge’s cloak, and forced him to do the “Revolution Pose”, right in front of Kotoge.
  • YO-HEY’S rambling promos include him having all his teeth knocked out (he hasn’t), and likening himself to a 16th century Japanese warlord, a champion stallion racehorse which was put out to stud (don’t ask) and then forgetting what he was talking about. He is still convinced that he will be facing Yoshiki Inamura in the finals of Global Junior League, despite the fact that Inamura isn’t in Global Junior League.
  • Yoshinari Ogawa took Atsushi Kotoge’s cape and used it to wipe his boots, much to Kotoge’s horror.
  • Ehime Pro did an opening exhibition at Noah’s show at TEXPORT Imbari
  • Yoshiki Inamura getting good reviews.
  • Go Shiozaki went to shake hands with Kotoge, but Kotoge drew his hand back, wiped his head and walked off (Shiozaki, notorious for giggling, couldn’t keep a straight face)
  • NOAH have had a crack down on people filming at the event, Atsushi Kotoge said “Heroes obey the rules”.
  • Masao Inoue is holding another bowling event, wrestlers participating will be Atsushi Kotoge, Kaito Kiyomiya and Tadasuke
  • On September 17th, Atsushi Kotoge, Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya went to a sports bar and spent until the early hours watching classic Four Pillars era All Japan (the match Kotoge photographed on the TV was Mitsuharu Misawa vs Kenta Kobashi on the 21st October 1997. When this match took place, Kotoge and Kenoh would have been 12, Kitamiya 14 and Nakajima 9).
  • Cody Hall and Maybach Taniguchi now have a finisher called “The Hooligans Bomb”.

  • On the long drive back from Tottori to Tokyo, (about nine to eleven hours), Takashi Sugiura photographed Masao Inoue at the urinal (twice), and then predictably, things got even worse when Marufuji filmed Inoue eating an ice cream on the bus, and then pausing to look briefly at a passing woman. Between Marufuji and Sugiura, this turned into Inoue thinking about “licking” women…

Lets just end this newsletter here until next week.


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: G1 Climax 28, part 11!

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NJPW G1 Climax 28 cover

NJPW and AXS bring us the B Block finals! Will it be Tetsuya Naito of one of the Golden Lovers who qualifies for THE G1 Climax 28 Finals?!

 

This coverage of the G1 Climax 28 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.

Gifs can be found on http://frentique.tumblr.com/

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins.
  • Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS set the scene for this final night of B Block action!

It all comes down to this! The Best Bout Machine lost to Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano in a row, though one was in part thanks to Tama Tonga. However, the IWGP Heavyweight Champion is still one win away from being in his third consecutive G1 Climax Finals. That win must come at the expense of Kenny Omega’s best friend, Kota Ibushi, in this Golden Lovers dream match. Ibsuhi could take the entire block with his own win, but there’s also last year’s G1 Climax champion. Tetsuya Naito can make his own repeat appearance if he defeats Zack Sabre Jr, who would love to play spoiler with his submission style. Who will meet Hiroshi Tanahashi in the G1 Climax 28 Finals?!

 

Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr!

The charismatic leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon takes on Suzuki-Gun’s Submission Master, a familiar match up from this year’s New Japan Cup. Naito takes his time with his attire, as usual, but ZSJ is patient. The referee finishes his check of both men, rings the bell, and we begin.

ZSJ rushes Naito then throws him out. He pursues but Naito slips back out to then troll ZSJ with a game of cat ‘n’ mouse. ZSJ grows frustrated and starts kicking railing like his mentor, Minoru Suzuki. Taka Michinoku calms Zack down and gets him back to the ring. Naito tells ZSJ to return, saying time is of the essence. ZSJ returns but Naito speeds things up. They both run and dodge, then Naito Tranquilos! But ZSJ grabs the arm for the armbar! Naito gets the ropes for the ropebreak and ZSJ mocks Tranquilo before letting Naito go. Naito takes his time returning, to again troll ZSJ. Red Shoes counts but Naito waits to return at about 10. ZSJ rushes Naito again for a headlock. Naito powers out and arm-drags ZSJ around. ZSJ headbutts then European Uppercuts, but he runs into another arm-dag.

Naito has ZSJ down, but ZSJ reverses into a headscissor. ZSJ squeezes, then stands to twist! Naito writhes while ZSJ catches his breath. ZSJ goes after the legs and gets a Queen Angelito figure four. He goes after the arms, and he uses a surfboard style lift! ZSJ goes for a cover but can’t get the angle, so he shifts to a leg based double armbar. Naito manages another ropebreak, so ZSJ backs off. ZSJ toys with Naito then gives him a EuroUpper. Naito chops back, so ZSJ trips him up and twists his neck again. ZSJ lets Naito get up to then float over to a cravat. Naito works his way up to arm-drag out. ZSJ runs in but misses, Naito jump kicks but it’s ZSJ who sweeps! The New Japan Cup champ has the G1 Climax 27 champ down and out while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns and Naito gets back up at 13. He returns to the ring at 15 but ZSJ stands on him to then get the ankle lock. ZSJ shifts to a Half Crab that shifts to an STF that shifts to a crossface. Naito reverses with a roll, TWO! ZSJ has a grounded cravat that he bridges and then rolls back. He gets a headscissor as Naito sits up, then grabs an ankle. They both roll and Naito is still in the headscissor. ZSJ squeezes but then Naito gets his own headscissor. ZSJ pries his way up and out and back to a half crab. He just stands on Naito’s head and body now to humiliate more than hurt. Naito gets up and chops ZSJ. ZSJ headbutts, EuroUppers, then whips. Naito reverses and reels ZSJ in for the backbreaker and dropkick! Both men are down as fans rally.

Naito stands and fires of on ZSJ. He whips but ZSJ reverses, only for Naito to come out with the headscssiors. Jump kick, leg sweep, and swinging dropkick! Naito poses while ZSJ checks his mouth. Naito elbows ZSJ, then brings him back up. ZSJ reverses the neckbreaker to a facelock, but Naito reels him in for the atomic drop.  Naito runs in at the corner but has to block ZSJ’s boots. ZSJ kicks Naito but Naito holds on. Naito spits, so ZSJ kicks more. Naito turns him sideways for a draping backbreaker! Then a standing neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Naito while he thinks of what to do next. Naito circles ZSJ and brings him up in a waistlock. ZSJ gets a standing switch to full nelson but Naito arm-drags out. They collide, elbow for elbow, and back again. Naito rolls for the kick but into an STF!

Naito drags himself around but ZSJ switches to part Rings of Saturn! He keeps Naito’s face back with a leg but Naito uses a leg to get the ropes. ZSJ again lets Naito go, and both men are down from exhaustion. Taka coaches ZSJ up but the fans are on Naito’s side still. ZSJ stands first and kicks at Naito. Naito takes them in stride, a grin on his face. Naito fires a forearm and a back elbow and ZSJ falls. Fans fire up as Naito throws more elbows, but ZSJ comes back with a EuroUpper. Naito elbows, ZSJ falls again. Now Naito toys with ZSJ, but ZSJ SLAPS Naito. ZSJ fires EuroUppers but ends up in a backslide. He rolls through but runs into the tornado DDT! Naito drags ZSJ up. Hammerlock and lift, but ZSJ counters with a guillotine that becomes a triangle hold!

Naito endures the squeeze while ZSJ prevents a cover. Naito uses power to lift but ZSJ wrenches back. ZSJ brings Naito back down and Naito starts to fade. Fans keep rallying, Naito jackknifes! TWO, and ZSJ penalty kicks Naito down! ZSJ drags Naito back up, but Naito suplexes into the dragon sleeper, for a reverse DDT! Fans cheer Naito while Taka shouts for ZSJ to get up. Naito sits up but ZSJ follows. They stand, and Naito elbows ZSJ again. ZSJ gives a EuroUpper but that arm is hurting. Naito chops but ZSJ slaps. Naito SLAPS, then hammerlocks, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!! Naito fires himself up as he drags ZSJ up. ZSJ sees it coming, and Peles the arm. Naito rolling kicks then whips. ZSJ reverses, catches the flying forearm, into an Octopus hold!

Naito endures being bent and stretched, but ZSJ’s arm is also bothering him. Fans rally for Naito and he manages to step towards ropes. ZSJ does what he can to pull on Naito, such as pulling the right arm all the way back. Naito still steps forward, but ZSJ pulls again. Naito uses one last effort and gets another ropebreak. ZSJ lets him go, and both men fall from exhaustion. Fans and Taka rally their favorites up again, and ZSJ sits up first. Naito follows but ZSJ penalty kicks Naito right back down! And he does it again! But Naito still stands. ZSJ goes for a third but gets caught into a German Suplex. Naito whips but ZSJ reverses, to get the flying forearms! Naito drags ZSJ up, arm wrench, but ZSj counters into the EuroClutch! TWO!? Naito misses his enziguri, ZSJ EuroClutches again, TWO!?

ZSJ EuroUppers but gets an enziguri. Naito backs up, runs in, but ZSJ slips out of the tilt-o-whirl to Octopus. Naito slips out this time to DESTINO! But he’s not done, here comes another D– no, Michinoku Driver! Cover, ZSJ wins!!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. by pinfall; ZSJ earns 2 points, Naito earns 0

The Submission Master uses a shout out to his coach and he spoils Naito’s chances! There will not be a repeat for the previous G1 Climax champion, and this leaves the way open for one half of the Golden Lovers!

 

Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi!

They may not always have been a team, but the Golden Lovers have always been friends and rivals. The Cleaner is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, but the Golden Star won’t give up his own desire for that belt. A dream match becomes reality, but who will live the dream of competing in the tournament finals?

The bell rings, and fans fire up as the two friends take a moment to stare down. They circle, Omega lunges in and gets the leg. He floats to a facelock and holds on as they go around. He goes to a waistlock and counters Ibushi’s standing switch. Omega gets a half nelson then another facelock as they stand. Ibushi has Omega on the ropes, but honors the ropebreak. But Omega brings him back in with a headlock. Ibushi powers out, Omega runs him over, but Ibushi kips up. Things speed up, Omega holds rope but still runs into a dropkick! Omega bails out but comes right back in to chop Ibushi! Omega whips but Ibushi holds ropes, so Omega chops again. The whip goes through but Ibushi dodges to kick. Ibushi kicks but is blocked, Omega chops. Omega runs but into the kick!

Omega bails out but longer this time, so Ibushi slingshots out! He crashes and burns, Omega saw that one coming. Omega brings Ibushi up to put him into railing. Then he scoop slams him onto the apron! Omega drags Ibushi back up and into the ring. Fans fire up as Omega returns and runs, Kotaro Krusher! Cover, TWO! Omega keeps his cool while fans cheer Ibushi on. Omega clubs Ibushi, then stomps him. He kicks Ibushi around, but Ibushi grows stronger with every hit. Omega runs, and dropkicks Ibushi down! Ibushi stands, kicks and snapmares Omega, to then kick him swiftly in the neck. Omega kicks and cravats but Ibushi counters to snapmare and kick, kick, kick! Omega gets up to shove and punch.

Now it’s a brawl back and forth, but Omega kicks low. Omega boots Ibushi into a corner, then runs in. Ibushi goes up and over to then powerslam and moonsault! But onto knees! Omega knows Ibushi so well, and he drags Ibushi up for fireman’s carry. “You Can’t Escape! Rolling senton, but the moonsault gets knees! Ibushi knows Omega so well, too! Ibushi runs, but into a huricanrana. But Ibushi then comes back with his own huricanrana! Omega ends up outside again, and Ibushi runs, but Omega intercepts the golden triangle for a full nelson! Ibushi holds ropes and elbows Omega back. Omega chops Ibushi’s back, then Electric Chair lifts! But Ibushi fights him off again, to then deadlift. Omega fights out with uppercuts, then has Ibushi on the shoulder, apron package tombstone!! Both Golden Lovers are down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Omega climbs up top. Ibushi slowly stands, but he gets the missile dropkick to the face! Then cross fisherman, Aoi Shoudou! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi lives and fans fire up for him. Omega grits his teeth, takes aim and… BANG! Omega runs, but he misses. Ibushi waistlocks but Omega standing switches. Omega shoves and chops Ibushi in the back! He whips and V-Triggers to the back! Omega drags Ibushi up, Electric Chair, but Ibushi resists. Pop-up, Croyt’s Wrath! With the bridge! TWO!! Ibushi narrowly escapes, but Omega stays focused. V-Trigger! Then the double underhook, but Ibushi resists again. They speed up, running DDT! Ibushi rolls out of the ring, but Omega hears the Terminator drums. Omega rises, builds speed, and FLIES! Direct hit on Ibushi!

Both men are down but Omega stands first. Omega drags Ibushi up and in, and fans rally up. Omega climbs up top again, but Ibushi PELE to stop him! Ibushi climbs up to join Omega, but Omega resists whatever lift Ibushi is after. The Young Bucks are concerned at ringside as Omega starts to shovel Ibushi up. Ibushi slips off to chop and SUPER STEINER! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up again and Omega bails out. Ibushi runs, Golden Triangle! Direct hit on Omega! The Golden Lovers are down again, but Ibushi is up first now. Ibushi puts Omega in, then climbs up top. Ibushi springboards but Omega catches him into the Electric Chair! But Ibushi fights out fast to strike fest and roundhouse Omega down. Knee-sault! Cover, TWO!!

Omega survives that innovative knee drop, but Ibushi isn’t out of ideas yet. Ibushi drags Omega up, with double wrists, but Omega dodges the knee. Ibushi dodges to Pele again! He grabs Omega, but Omega slips out of the bomb to V-Trigger. Ibushi blocks but gets the second V-Trigger. Omega full nelsons but Ibushi fights out. Omega heel kicks him into a corner! Then from corner to corner, V-Trigger! Omega drags Ibushi up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Omega sits Ibushi up, puts on the full nelson, but Ibushi fights out again. Ibushi elbows but Omega headbutts. Omega stands up now, another attempt at the full nelson, SUPER SNAP DRAGON! But Ibushi stands right up!

The Golden Lovers collide with double clotheslines, then do it again. Omega kicks the other one away to V-Trigger! Ibushi reverses to snap German! But Omega’s up, so he gets a Half ‘n Half, and CLOBBERING CLOTHESLINE! Ibushi has control while we go to break!

NJPW on AXS returns and Ibushi drags Omega up. Ibushi wants the bomb, and gets the Golden Star sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO!? Even Ibushi is shocked. But he drags Omega up again with the double wristlocks, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, TWO!?! Ibushi cannot understand how Omega survives. Ibushi uncovers his knee and brings Omega back up. Omega resists because he knows what’s coming. Ibushi stomps and clubs Omega. Omega fights back with forearms and elbows. Omega throws more of those, but then Ibushi fires back! They go back and forth, but neither man backs down. Omega hits, but Ibushi responds. They give shorter and faster forearms now but neither man lets go of the wristlock. Omega headbutts but Ibushi kicks! Ibushi kicks but gets a V-Trigger! He staggers, but chops!

Ibushi fires palm strikes and body shots. He runs, but into the V-Trigger! Omega runs again, but into a roundhouse! They’re both down, but fans fire up for Ibushi. Ibushi hears them and decides to climb up top. Phoenix Splash flops as Omega evades. Omega stands, to V-Trigger Ibushi in the back! Then suddenly, butterfly piledriver! Cover, TWO!! Now Omega is shocked that Ibushi lives. Omega pulls his own knee pad down, to V-Trigger! Then Electric Chair, but Ibushi fights again. Reverse-Rana is blocked by sheer will, and Omega makes it like a driver! Cover, TWO!?! Omega aims again, BANG! Another V-Trigger! Then another Electric Chair, but Ibushi holds ropes. Omega climbs!? Ibushi senses this and fights for his life. Ibushi positions himself, SUPER double stomps!

Omega barely stays on the top rope, but Ibushi comes back up to join him. Ibushi drags Omega up, in a double underhook, SUPER TIGER BOMB!! Cover, TWO??! But how?! Ibushi keeps going, dragging Omega up with both hands, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!

Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; Ibushi earns 2 points, Omega earns 0

The Golden Lovers dream match ends with Ibushi scoring a victory over the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! With this, Ibushi wins the B Block and qualifies for THE G1 Climax 27 Finals! Ibushi meets Hiroshi Tanahashi for that chance at the title at Wrestle Kingdom. But because they’re great friends, Omega celebrates with Ibushi before letting him take the ring alone.

Ibushi speaks.

“Kenny, Matt, Nick,” and everyone in the Elite, “Thank you very much.” Ibushi thanks all the wrestlers in NJPW, too. Ibushi still lives in the G1 Climax, and vows to win the finals the very next day. He keeps things short and sweet so that he and the Elite can all leave together. Can the Star surpass The Ace to then give us a sequel to this amazing match? Or will The Once in a Century Talent score his third G1 Climax championship?

 

Backstage interviews.

The Golden Elite are all together, as Omega notes that he somehow made it here on his own power. He admits he doesn’t like that he lost, especially as champion. But losing to his tag partner and best friend, Ibushi, and knowing he goes to the finals to face Tanahashi, makes Omega happy. Omega gives his full support, and will be in Ibushi’s corner. Ibushi accepts his friend’s support, and is himself very happy. He can’t believe he won. It doesn’t seem real yet. But Ibushi has made it to the finals, and again vows to win it all. He’s been focused on that single goal, he just has one match to go. Was tonight’s dream match a preview of Wrestle Kingdom? Or perhaps something sooner rather than later?

 


 

My Thoughts:

An amazing night, especially factoring in the context of the incredible action. Naito VS ZSJ in a New Japan Cup goes the same way as the match in the New Japan Cup, but naturally escalated up. Naito was well-prepared for the submissions and got the ropebreak quite a few times, but in the end ZSJ wins out. Given the points, it makes sense to keep Naito out of the running. It adds drama to Omega VS Ibushi, because then it becomes another “win and you’re in.” Actually, B Block parallels A Block in that respect, as Jay White was the third man who could complicate Okada VS Tanahashi, until he lost to Evil. But Naito is fine not going into the finals again, as fans still love him, and there’s plenty of unfinished business with other wrestlers, such as Chris Jericho over the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.

Then Omega VS Ibushi is definitely worthy of a block finals. The story was already there with them being such close friends and tag team partners. The counters, the back and forth, it was so great. Ibushi benefits the most from winning here because he was perhaps the underdog against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and now earns the right to challenge Omega even without the G1 Climax contract for Wrestle Kingdom. Of course, Tomohiro Ishii has a similar claim he can make, so Ibushi can wait for one of the bigger NJPW events to give us the epic sequel.

My Score: 8.9/10


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Joe’s Lucha Libre Weekly: News & Opinions

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CMLL

CMLL Anniversary

We saw at the anniversary show, in predictable fashion, Rush and Cavernario defeat Volador and Matt Taven in the hair vs hair match. Everyone knew what the result would be which helped kill intrigue in the match because as discussed before, if CMLL was willing to hair Rush lose his hair it would be against LA Park and if he were to lose it against anybody else it wouldn’t make sense. So Volador and Taven lost 2 falls to 1 and at the end of the match, as a way to weasel out of it Taven turned on Volador as if it was his plan all along but they weren’t going to stand for it. I wonder how much Taven had his head shaved, I suppose we shall see on the next Ring of Honor live event. The show was pretty close to a sell out containing 16,000 fans.

The Co-main event saw Pentagon, Fenix, and Diamante Azul defeating LA Park, his son, and Caristico 2 falls to 1 in what was a very good match. LA Park, for a man who is very large in his older age can still put on some very good matches and held his own in their with the much young Fenix and Pentagon and the always entertaining Caristico. The match before that which was the Kaos Klan vs Los Guerrero’s for the trios title. This wasn’t in technical terms a very good match, but it had heat on it. One of the issues was the finish was a complete let down and out of nowhere. Not in a good way either, sometimes out of nowhere finishes are good if they’re done during hot moments, but this one was just a standard pin with feet on the ropes.

CMLL Friday Show/Future

The top three matches for this show will feature a rematch with Kaos Klan and Los Guerrero’s. This is the third time this match is happening in a short span so I wonder if they will have Los Guerrero’s win here after potentially swerving the fans at the Anniversary show. It was a weak finish and wasn’t a good match so I have to imagine that they’re going to put forth a better performance this time. However, a lot of the men involved are much older and broken down so they need the pomp and circumstances more. We also have a lightning round match between Mistico and Negro Casas so that should be something. They must be going for a program with them.

In the main event we have, Atlantis, King Fenix, and Diamante Azul vs Rush, Cavernario, and El Terrible. I wonder if my theory about building a program with Rush and Atlantis for next year starts and if maybe they move towards Fenix and Cavernario. I can only imagine how good those singles matches would be. LA Park worked the Arena Puebla show with Rush in the match. This was a very good match, perhaps an anniversary show standard.

There was a lot of instances in the match where Park and Rush had a show down one on one in the ring. It was a very long match and very good. Rush won with a low blow and Park then cut a promo after the match challenging him hair vs mask again to which CMLL cut his mic. But it magically turned on when Rush got the mic. Park was upset and left. They are promoting LA Park and Hijo Del LA Park vs Rush and Cavernario next week for the Monday Puebla show. So it looks like they’re going back to this well for financial purposes, who knows if the hair vs mask match will ever happen.

AAA

AAA has announced their big October Show, the Antonio Pena tribute show, and it has a pretty big card, with the main event being Jeff Jarrett vs Dr. Wagner Jr in a hair vs hair match. I’m almost positive Jarrett is losing that match especially if they’re building towards Park vs Wagner at the next Triplemania. Wagner is gonna need to have more hair grown out to make it a viable match on paper. He doesn’t have much hair so why would the fans buy his hair vs the value of Park’s mask? I feel like there’d be so much more intrigue with Psycho Clown vs Park mask vs mask, but it all depends on when and who Park wants to lose to. Everyone seems to agree that it has to be to Rush whenever the time is.

Also on that card which we’ll preview more in the coming weeks, Park will team with Psycho Clown against Murder Clown and Kevin Kross. So something is going to have to happen in the coming weeks that pairs Kross with Murder Clown because they were just attacking each other during the last encounter with Wagner and Jeff Jarrett. A three way tag match for the tag titles will happen and Bandido and Flamita will actually get their chance. There was rumblings wondering if AAA would remember the stipulation on the Triplemania show. There’s also a four way match for the women’s title. More info in the coming weeks as the card gets built on the TV tapings.

AAA on Twitch 9/21

We will have a women’s match to start the show, which seems to be typical featuring, Keyra, Lady Maravilla, and Starfire vs Faby Apache, La Hiedra, and Lady Shani. We get a six man tag team match next which will be action packed featuring, Emperador Azteca, Demus, and Ciclon Ramierz vs Aerostar, Argenis, and Nino Hamburguesa. The next match is a three way tag match between Texano Jr and Escorpion vs Maximo and Mamba vs El Hijo De Dr. Wagner Jr and Golden Magic.

The co-main event is another six man tag between, Laredo Kid, Tayrys, and Hijo Del LA Park vs La Parka, Pagano, and Joe Lider. Any match with Joe Lider and Pagano is bound to be crazy. The main event sees LA Park teaming with Electro Shock vs Psycho Clown and El Hijo Del Fantasma. The theme of this show is Lucha Libre Elite vs AAA. They’re playing up an invasion storyline. They have another show on September 30th but I will preview that one next week.

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