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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.10 ~16TH NOVEMBER 2018

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Another wonderfully in depth recap of this week in Pro Wrestling NOAH. How is the Global League going? Let’s see what else has been going on in NOAH.





CURRENT TOUR RECAP
NOAH were in Hiroshima on the 12th November; Hiroshima is a city of mixed emotion for NOAH, for some it is home, but for the promotion as a whole it has sad associations, as Mitsuharu Misawa died there in 2009.

Hitoshi Kumano, (a local bear), took charge of fundraising for the Heavy Rain Fund (Hiroshima was hit badly earlier in the year by floods, and the mascot got yelled at by Mitsuya Nagai). Nagai was wound up by Naomichi Marufuji as well, who held the ropes open for him, a tactic which served to wind Kenoh up too. It was also the event where Kotaro Suzuki got his win over HAYATA, and sat on the ropes holding the belt up to both Daisuke Harada and HAYATA. Kotaro Suzuki later said that HAYATA bought out his trump card in the previous match (“the Headache”), and so he bought out his too, and that he would be no match for him with his own number of various maneuvers which he would bring out in the title match. They had their final match before the championship match on the 17th in Osaka, and they will both go into the match with one victory each over the other in the build up for the challenge.

Fan support is very much on the side of HAYATA (who is not NOAH born unlike Suzuki who is seen as an outsider, despite being NOAH born) to bring the championship home.

Mitsuya Nagai clashed with Naomichi Marufuji, and was chopped to shreds. Marufuji said he looked like a “boiled octopus” afterwards. Katsuhiko Nakajima would dismiss Nagai as “small fish” on the 14th, but Nagai would break through the dark cloud on the 16th when he ended the winning streak of Kohei Sato.

Despite his fluke win and spazz out victory celebration against Takashi Sugiura, Kaito Kiyomiya suffered two defeats in a row; the first being against Atsushi Kotoge on the 14th and Cody Hall on the 16th. Kotoge, however, has been on a roll and defeated Go Shiozaki on the 16th.

In a rare moment on the 14th, Masa Kitamiya and Kenoh shook hands. Kitamiya said that he did it to acknowledge that he and Kenoh (who lost to him) had practically fought to the death for the win, and that he didn’t trust wrestlers who had no ambition. Speaking of Kenoh, during the huge tag on the 16th November, his victory over

Marufuji seemingly wasn’t enough, and he decided to get his face again.

Marufuji (now with both shoulders needing athletic support) just looked tired and like he’d had enough.

The show on the 16th November was a shift in the league; Kohei Sato, Kazusada Higuchi and Go Shiozaki had their perfect records beaten by Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone and Atsushi Kotoge, and Nakajima avenged his loss against Quiet Storm in Global League 2017.

As Global League is beginning to heat up, everyone is talking about not letting anymore victories slip through their fingers, but of course, not all matches can go to a draw, and someone has to lose. There can only be two finalists, and ultimately one winner.

Full recap of Global League 2018 so far, can be found here.

Noah will be back on Saturday 17th November at the Edion Arena in Osaka, (gong sounds at 18.30).

NEWS

THE EVOLUTION OF KENOH 
The upcoming “Wrestlers Directory” 2018 (basically a guide to who is who, what, and where in 2018) was previewed and Naomichi Marufuji and Kenoh were profiled with their changing looks over the years. 

Kenoh made the following comments about his entry:

  • His 2009 picture is ugly
  • Like all trainees, he debuted with a shaved head. Says he didn’t used to cut it, and its awkward to look at it, says he didn’t think he had any money to cut it.
  • It doesn’t really translate well, but Kenoh says he cut his hair in 2012 because it had been long for long enough. In another rough translation he says that he looks like a child of badboy parents, who has been forced to pose.
  • Kenoh said about his expression that it doesn’t change, because in his every day life, he does not laugh a lot.
  • In 2015, Kenoh says that “I admired him and went blonde, but I can no longer say I have the aspiration to be like him” (he is talking about Morishima, who very sadly, has let a lot of people down, including Kenoh).

YOSHIKI INAMURA ADDED TO THE NOAH ROSTER PAGE 
At the moment there is not too much information on him apart from his birthday (November 18th 1992), his height and weight, blood type and birthplace (Otawara City in Tochigi Prefecture), date of debut and finisher. His finisher isn’t anything special at the moment, and doesn’t have a special name, being listed only as a “tackle”.

He doesn’t have a Twitter account yet.

CHRISTMAS AT MUSCLE GRILL
Naomichi Marufuji’s current restaurant MUSCLE GRILL in Tokyo will be having a Christmas party on the 22nd December. Naomichi Marufuji, Hi69, Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge and Junta Miyawaki will be attending, but obviously this depends on whether or not they manage to stay injury free.

Event is now full.

HAJIME OHARA IN CHINA
Hajime Ohara has missed some Noah dates as he is training the Eastern Hero Athletes in Shanghai, and also when they visit the Noah dojo in Saitama. Ohara is known to be a very strict trainer with a lot of emphasis on health and well-being, which goes further than working out as he is a big advocate for healthy eating and avoiding alcohol (although he does seem to have a weakness for cake); he has banned smoking during training sessions, forbidding his students to smoke while on breaks.

NOAH IN 2019 
Noah have announced the dates for “Navigation for The Future 2019”. The tour will run from January 6th to Friday, February 1st. They have also announced their (provisional) Korakuen Hall schedule for 2019.

TAKESHI MORISHIMA UPDATE
There has been no real news following Morishima’s arrest earlier in the month, but further sad details have come to light about his behavior prior to the arrest and his living circumstances.

Morishima it seems was (and is) homeless and without any form of income, and was begging for drinks, even using the tactic of asking to drink with the bar staff as it meant he would be given free drinks.

The management company who were sponsoring his return had originally put him up in an apartment, which they paid the rent for. The deal was that Morishima would concentrate on his return, however, Morishima didn’t do this, and preferred alcohol to training. The President of the company, seeing that Morishima wasn’t giving anything in return despite repeated requests for him to change his ways, eventually lost his patience and told Morishima to pack up and leave.

Morishima, seemingly unconcerned about this, told him flippantly that he was drinking in Shinjuku, and if he wanted the keys, he should come and get them.

GHC BELT NEWS

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

The winner of Global League 2018 will earn the right to challenge Takashi Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight title, if he himself wins, Sugiura says that he will nominate Masato Tanaka as his challenger.

Kotaro Suzuki will defend the GHC Junior Heavyweight title against HAYATA on the 17th November at Edion Arena, Osaka.

The GHC Heavyweight Tag titles have not had a challenger as of yet, and probably won’t until after Global League wraps up. Mitsuya Nagai has hinted that he may challenge, but Saito said that he will not be granted a title shot. Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he was going to challenge after the Global League match with Saito, and said cryptically, he was “in the mood for shopping” (i.e., shopping around to see what deal is best).

The GHC Junior Tag Championship will be challenged for by Koji Kanemoto and Hiroshi Yamato on the 25th November at Korakuen Hall. Seiya Morohashi has also challenged for them, his partner at this time is as yet unknown, but it is thought it will either be TAMURA or Kouki Iwasaki.

TOUR TIDBITS

  • Atsushi Kotoge drinks “Revolutionary Coffee”
  • Naomichi Marufuji sat on a wet bench wearing thin grey pants…
  • There was a cat at the hotel in Ehime, much to YO-HEY’s delight
  • Kaito Kiyomiya appears to be being fitted for tailored suits (long gone are the days of the oversize one thank god)
  • Daisuke Harada celebrated his 32nd birthday on the 13th November (President Uchida did not even know it was his birthday!), and Yoshiki Inamura will celebrate his 26th birthday on November 18th, Takashi Sugiura bought him an early birthday cake and a small party was held at a restaurant Inamura had been taken out to by his seniors.
  • Shu Nishinaga said Ally (the ring announcer) “whined like a child” for udon noodles.
  • Naomichi Marufuji says he was disturbed by mosquitoes, in November, which woke him up at 2.30am
  • Kenoh apparently went jogging in the Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyoto (a fan who saw him, thought he was a blonde delinquent fleeing the law before it was discovered it was Kenoh)

KING SHAMELESS CORNER 
After weeks of silence. Takashi Sugiura is back, posting a picture of Masao Inoue holding an ice cream cone with white foam in it and labeling it “mood” and photographing erotic looking food.

I’ll leave it to your (and his) dirty imagination as to what exactly he meant by oysters being “erotic”…

BROADCASTS
The final night of Global League, 25th November, will be broadcast at 6pm on Saturday 8th December
The event on the 12th December, will be broadcast on the 15th December
The event on the 16th December, will be broadcast on the 22nd December

This is more than usual, and all seem to be going out on a weekly basis. This makes me wonder if the network are trying something out.

LINKS
K-FORCE: music inspired by Katsuhiko Nakajima
ARTICLE: “Traces to Nowhere: the tragic story behind the Takeshi Morishima arrest”
News article on Takeshi Morishima’s drunken and chaotic life
Enjoy what I do? Help me do it full time.
IPW are the official vendors of Noah merchandise, please click here for shop
English translation of “Heir to the Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) ~ work in progress





Enjoy the Pro Wrestling NOAH content? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Part 3!

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NJPW King of Pro Wrestling

NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling continues with an epic Triple Threat for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship! Can Kenny Omega defeat both Kota Ibushi AND Cody?




This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.

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

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody; Omega wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.




PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!

The Golden Lovers reunited and it feels so good. But Kenny Omega felt even better after finally becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! Omega promised his best friend a shot at the title. Omega and Kota Ibushi battled in the G1 Climax 28, and it would be the Golden Star who shined bright. However, The American Nightmare suggested something even more epic than just Golden Lover VS Golden Lover. Cody interjects himself into this match for a Triple Threat for the top title in NJPW. Will this match make the Golden Elite stronger? Or only serve to tear them apart all over again?

 

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody!

The Best Bout Machine, the Golden Star and the American Nightmare have all had their differences, but now they’re all on the same side. Or are they? Cody already has the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, on top of the NWA Worlds Championship and even a part in the ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championships. Perhaps Cody is just adding to his collection. Of course, he’ll have to get through both Golden Lovers to do it. Who will come out of this epic match as the best heavyweight in all of NJPW?

The three men make their entrances, the introductions are made and the belt is presented. Red Shoes does his check, and the match begins after the break.

NJPW on AXS returns as the three friends shake hands and hug to prove this is respectful. The bell rings and the three circle. They keep their eyes on each other, and Omega ties up with Cody first. Cody ties up with Ibushi at the same time, but he fights both Golden Lovers. Cody throws Ibushi out hard and focuses on Omega. He gets a headlock and Omega powers out. Cody runs Omega over, then things speed up. Cody slides under, kicks and drops for the uppercut. Omega bails out as Ibushi comes in. Ibushi and Cody tie up, and Cody gets a headlock. Ibushi powers out, Cody runs him over but Ibushi kips right up. Things speed up again and Ibushi dropkicks Cody down. Cody bails out and Ibushi builds up with the fans. Ibushi runs but Omega stands in his way.

The Golden Lovers talk but Cody goes after them both! Cody throws hands on Ibushi, then whips. Ibushi reverses and the Golden Lovers work together, roundhouse to Kotaro Krusher. Ibushi covers but Omega yanks him off. Omega covers but Ibushi yanks him off. Omega apologizes and says “Dozo (go ahead)”. Ibushi covers, TWO! Omega knew that would happen. He and Ibushi stand up but Cody knocks them into each other! Cody suplexes Omega and tosses him! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up while Cody fetches Ibushi on the outside. Cody suplexes Ibushi for the gordbuster! Cody goes back to Omega in the ring but Omega throws body shots. Omega runs but into the kitchen sink knee! Cody covers, ONE! Cody goes back to Ibushi, and suplexes Ibushi. Ibushi slips out and fires forearms. Ibushi whips Cody into railing, then runs in, only to be tossed up and over!

Cody leaves Ibushi behind, but Omega is ready with a kick and haymakers. Omega backs Cody to a corner, then chops. Omega whips corner to corner but Cody reverses and back drops Omega. Cover, TWO! Cody keeps his cool while fans rally up. Ibushi stirs in among the chairs while Cody springboards at Omega. Omega ducks under then huricanranas Cody on the return! Cody bails out and Omega fires up. The Terminator Drums begin, and Omega builds speed, to FLY! Omega gets just enough of Cody, and then puts him back in the ring. Fans rally for everyone as Ibushi returns. The Golden Lovers work together again. Omega says Cody, “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton, Ibushi shooting star, Omega moonsault, but then Omega grabs Ibushi for an electric chair! Ibushi slips out, and is just disappointed in his friend.

Cody watches as Omega apologizes, but this time Ibushi is ready. Ibushi elbows Cody away, but then Omega kicks Ibushi low. Omega whips Ibushi but Ibushi reverses. Ibushi runs in, but Omega goes up and over. Omega runs at Cody but Cody goes up and over, to then get Omega in the spinning powerslam! Cody runs at Ibushi but Ibushi goes up and over to hit Cody with a powerslam! Then the moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, focusing on Ibushi. All three men slowly sit up, and Ibushi brings Cody up. Cody pokes Ibushi’s eyes, then kicks Omega. Cody wants to work together with Omega, “We’re friends, too!” Omega admits that’s true, and they double suplex Ibushi. But then Cody rolls Omega up, TWO! Omega gets mad and the two start shoving. Then they start brawling! Cody SUPERKICKS, but runs into a chop!



Omega wants a snap dragon but Cody breaks free. Cody trips Omega and puts on a Figure Four! Omega slaps Cody, so Cody punches back. It’s a brawl inside the Figure Four, but Cody gets an edge. Omega gives it back, but here comes Ibushi! He kicks Omega, but Omega makes it an ankle lock! The submissions are linked, but Ibushi gets free. Ibushi then kicks Cody. He kicks at Omega, Omega ducks but Ibushi moonsaults! Cover, Cody breaks it while breaking his lock. The three men are still very even while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Ibushi is the first to stand. Cody is next so Ibushi goes after him. Ibushi whips Cody corner to corner but Cody goes up and over to roll up. Ibushi rolls through, misses the kick but moonsaults, onto knees! But then Cody walks into a Snap Dragon Suplex! OMega brings Ibushi up, Aoi Shoudou! Cody comes back but misses the Beautiful Disaster. Omega gives Cody another Snap Dragon, then he takes aim. BANG, Omega runs, but Ibushi intercepts with a missile dropkick! Cody hits Ibushi with one of his own, then he drags Ibushi up. Cody gives Ibushi an arm wrench and DDT, covers, TWO! Fans rally up again but Cody keeps his cool. Cody shows off his stamina by doing push-ups and flexing. He then drags Ibushi up again and clubs away on the arm.

Cody whips but Ibushi counters. Cody dodges to DIVE onto Omega! But then Ibushi runs, Golden Triangle stopped by Cody’s clubbing forearm. Cody drags Ibushi out, but Omega stops the Cross Rhodes. Cody shoves Omega away, then goes back to Ibushi. Ibushi kicks Cody away, Omega grabs Cody to powerbomb through the announce desk! Cody writhes amid the wreckage, but Ibushi jumps on Omega with a corkscrew moonsault! All three men are down on the outside! Ibushi is up first and he brings Omega up with him. Cody crawls out of the wreckage but Ibushi puts Omega in the ring. Ibushi takes aim, but he sees his friend can barely stand. He ditches the springboard, to look Omega in the eyes. Ibushi dares Omega to bring it on, and Omega fires himself up. The Golden Lovers tie up!

They break, they tie up again, then it’s a brawl of forearms! Omega hits, Ibushi hits, repeat. Omega staggers a bit but he still hits back. Ibushi staggers a bit but he hits back. Omega boots back, and Ibushi takes a moment to wipe his mouth. Ibushi boots, and Omega boots back. Ibushi boots again, and Omega checks his ear. Omega runs in but gets a boot, then a strike fest! Ibushi kicks but Omega blocks to CHOP. Omega then hits a Snap Dragon! Ibushi sits up but Omega is on him. BANG, but Ibushi is ready, only for Omega to kick away his clothesline. Omega wants another Kotaro Krusher but Ibushi slips out the back. Ibushi wants a German Suplex but Omega lands on his feet! V-Trigger blocked, but it comes back!

Ibushi still swings on Omega but Omega dodges. Ibushi dodges back, only to run into another V-Trigger! POISON-RANA! But Ibushi pops right up! To CLOBBER Omega! Both Golden Lovers are down, sore and dazed. Cody has returned to the apron while The Young Bucks can only watch on with intense focus. Ibushi stirs, and fans rally up. He says he’ll end it, and he climbs up top. Cody comes over to shove Ibushi down! Cody climbs up now but has to kick Omega away. Omega staggers, Cody hops, and hits a Destroyer! Cover, TWO!! Omega survives, and now Cody grows frustrated. Cody stands again, and waits for Omega to stand. Omega does, and Cody wants Dinn’s Fire. Omega slips out of it, heel kick tot he back of Cody’s head! Cody slumps in a corner, and Omega runs in, V-Trigger to the back!

Cody is hurting but Omega doesn’t stop. Omega hauls Cody up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Omega wants a full nelson, but Ibushi can be seen crawling in. Cody resists and fights back, but Omega clubs him back. Ibushi gets in and creeps over. Cody sends Omega down, but Ibushi’s right up! Omega pulls Ibushi down, climbs up, but Ibushi kicks Omega in the back! Ibushi drags Omega up, scoops, and goes to lawn dart, but Omega slips out. Omega kicks, powerbomb lift, and buckle bumps him into Cody’s back! Cody ends up in a Tree of Woe now, as Omega gives Ibushi a Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives, but Cody’s still stuck. Omega says BANG, and gives Ibushi a V-Trigger. Then electric chair, but Ibushi slips out to inverted suplex, Lawn Dart into Cody! Everyone’s down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns again as the three men finally stir. Cody gets to the apron while Ibushi stands. Ibushi goes after Cody, wanting to German Suplex him back in. Omega sees this, hops up the other side, to then springboard to add a powerbomb to Ibushi’s German Suplex! Omega gets up while the other two are down, and he has two targets now. Fans rally up as he double guns, double BANG! He goes for Ibushi first, V-Trigger hits! Then to Cody, V-Trigger hits! Omega keeps on Cody with the electric chair, but Cody spins around and out, and he powerbomb lifts Omega. Cody throws Omega, and Ibushi uses that for his German Suplex! That’s usually a Golden Lovers move! Ibushi covers, but Cody breaks. Omega rolls away while Cody keeps on Ibushi with right hands. Cody then hits Omega with the Beautiful Disaster!

Cody fires up, and he goes outside to search under the ring. He doesn’t find what he wants on that end, though. He goes around the other side, and he finds a table! Cody brings it out and sets it up, but Omega has come after him. Omega clubs Cody but Cody bounces him off the wood. Cody goes back to Ibushi in the ring, and brings Ibushi up. He clubs away on Ibushi, and prepares a powerbomb. Ibushi resists, so Cody clubs him more. Cody gets Ibushi up for a Canadian rack, but Ibushi slips out. Omega returns to springboard, but Cody shoves him down! Omega falls through the table! At least it broke…

As for Cody, he just grins. He goes to a corner and climbs up. Cody aims at Ibushi, but Ibushi stops him with a forearm. Ibushi climbs up and has fans on his side. Ibushi hits the SUPERPLEX! But small cradle from Cody! TWO, and Cody springboards, only to get Ibushi’s kick! Ibushi brings Cody up, powerbomb lift, Golden Star sit-out! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus, but now Omega emerges from the wreckage. Cody resists as Ibushi brings up his wrists, then he dodges Kamigoye! Cody reels Ibushi in, but ends up in a straitjacket suplex! Bridging cover, but Cody keeps one shoulder off. Ibushi rolls around and brings Cody up, Kamigoye!! Cover, but Omega blocks Red Shoes’ hand! Omega keeps this match going, to Ibushi’s frustration. Omega tries to reason with him, but Ibushi just tunes him out. And then chops him!



Ibushi fires off palm strikes from all sides, so Omega has no choice but to hit back. Cody returns, but his chop doesn’t bother Ibushi at all. Ibushi CHOPS Cody and he’s down and out again! Omega fires off on Ibushi, but Ibushi just needs one strike to get back. They go back and forth with those palm strikes, but Ibushi kicks. Omega grabs the other leg, but Ibushi brings Omega around for a mount. Ibushi makes it a cover but Omega keeps his shoulders up. So Ibushi just starts the ground ‘n’ pound! Omega does his best to cover up but Ibushi finds openings. Omega hits back but Ibushi keeps hitting harder. Now Ibushi uses closed fists, Red Shoes reprimands that. Ibushi keeps going but Red Shoes brings Ibushi away. Red Shoes tries to talk sense into Ibushi, but Ibushi just gives Omega a knee! Ibushi covers, TWO!!

Omega survives, and Ibushi grows frustrated. Ibushi drags Omega up, but Cody drags Ibushi out! Cody goes after Omega now, Cross Rhodes! Cover, TWO as Cody gets out the way of those flying double stomps! Ibushi crushes Omega, and Cody throws Ibushi out. Cody goes back to Omega, waiting for him to stand. Omega does, Cody hits another Cross Rhodes!! Cover, TWO?! Omega survives by some sheer force of will! Ibushi slowly return, but Cody stands first. Cody kicks Ibushi down, then drags him up and in. Cody lifts Ibushi, and hits Dinn’s Fire!! Cover, but Omega breaks it just in time! Cody’s infuriated now, and he decides to “borrow” a chair! He realizes what he’s doing, and drops the chair. Fans applaud that, but then Omega decides to use his IWGP US title belt! But then he reconsiders it again.

Cody tosses the belt to Nick Jackson, and picks up the chair again! He brings the chair in and aims at Ibushi, but Omega shields his friend. Cody stomps Omega instead, and prepares the chair! Ibushi grabs it and takes it away. Then he roundhouses Cody down! Omega gives Ibushi a POISON-RANA! And the Butterfly Wings!! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi survives and flounders about, but Omega reloads. BANG, V-Trigger! Electric chair lift, ONE-WINGED ANGEL!! Cover, Cody is too late, Omega wins!!

Winner: Kenny Omega, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion

Omega apologizes profusely to his friend he did the most damage to. The Best Bout Machine still has his belt, but what of his best friends? We’ll see after the break.



NJPW on AXS returns…

Matt & Nick Jackson help check on Ibushi. Omega signals for water while ice packs are brought in. Matt fetches the water and helps refresh Ibushi. Omega holds Ibushi’s hand, in hopes Ibushi is okay. Ibushi finally stirs, which is a huge relief to Omega. Cody helps Omega bring Ibushi up slowly and carefully. Omega also signals for the mic. He receives the mic and his belt, and Red Shoes raises his hand to make the victory official. Cody leaves the ring for the moment while Omega speaks. “Just a moment. I’ll wait until Ibushi can stand up.” Fans applaud such honor, respect and compassion from the champion. Omega tells Cody that he should be in here, too. They’re all a team, so stand with them.

Cody, though reluctant, knows Omega won’t “talk on the mic until all the Elite members can stand together,” so he joins them again. “Okay, Ibushi, whenever you’re ready, we’ll stand up and close it out.” Ibushi sits up, and Omega takes that to mean he’s good. “Everyone, let’s all stand, not as the Bullet Club, but as The Elite.” Was this the first time the fans here have seen a triple threat? Perhaps for some. Well he won’t ask individually, but did they like it? Were they entertained? Yes, they were. It is thanks to the fans that this match became a reality. And thanks to NJPW, for that matter.

Of course, any other organization could try, but they can’t do it like them, in Elite Style. So he again expresses his appreciation. And finally, the Tokyo Dome main event is set, huh? There’ll be a press conference soon enough, so there isn’t much else to say. Therefore, “I must bid you adieu.” Omega hugs Ibushi, who now stands on his feet. Omega hugs Cody, because he also loves Cody and his dog. And of course, Omega hugs the Bucks, he loves them, too. And not to forget the Elite who aren’t here, he loves them, too. So good bye, and good night- Wait, Hiroshi Tanahashi is here?! The Ace and his Wrestle Kingdom 13 contract now stand ringside. Tanahashi joins Omega in the ring.

Omega tells Tanahashi, “we’re both pretty tired. So if you have something to say, this is your chance.” Omega hands Tanahashi the mic as fans chant “Go Ace!” Tanahashi tells Omega, “Kenny-kun, I’m angry.” About what? “Everyone was clapping, but don’t forget this is NJPW.” Guess he’ll be the one to tell Kenny, “your time is up.” This will be settled at the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi drops the mic but Omega picks it up. Omega is sure that the Tokyo Dome would chant “Go Ace”, but this is still Ryogoku. And here, it’s good bye and good night, BANG! Omega shrugs off Tanahashi’s cryptic ultimatum, but will he be able to shrug off Tanahashi’s wrestling? Or is Tanahashi predicting an end to start the New Year?

Backstage interviews.

Cody notes that last year, Cody surprised Ibushi with a challenge for the Dome. No one likes to lose, but Cody swallowed his pride for friendship. It still leaves a bad taste, but Cody is excited for the future. You’re not supposed to make friends in wrestling, but here they are. Is Ibushi okay? Yeah, just sore. They’ll get him ice. Ibushi shakes Cody’s hand then the Bucks’. The Elite will support their leader. “Then after that, buckle up.” No one in the Elite knows what the future holds, but they know they’ll face it together. Omega has his match for Wrestle Kingdom, but where will the rest of The Elite end up?



My Thoughts:

An incredible hour for NJPW and AXS, and it’s great that it was just the Triple Threat. There is so much of wrestling today where The Bullet Club’s Elite are the center of it, from what stories they all have in NJPW and ROH to who WWE eagerly wants to have for themselves. It was very fitting for Cody after all the action to say that 2019 could be a wild ride that still isn’t 100% certain, and we’re seeing that now in real-time with talks of all the contracts for The Elite. Whatever this insanely over collection of wrestlers chooses, I know their fans will follow, regardless of reaction.

As for the match in question tonight, it truly was epic. This probably gives whatever was the best triple threat ever a run for its money. It went the distance of 43 minutes, and it made everything count. The Golden Lovers working together, Cody using them against each other physically, and then eventually Omega and Ibushi having no choice but to fight each other, just brilliant stuff. And what makes it all even better is that at the end of the match, they’re all still friends. They remember the point of the match, they understand each other’s positions, and they know to stick together because they’re stronger together. Omega wins and now Omega VS Tanahashi is pretty much finalized. If Tanahashi ends up winning, then his line tonight will be true because it likely means Omega is going elsewhere. Only time will tell.

My Score: 8.8/10



Did Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and Cody Rhodes deliver for NJPW? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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