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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (2/20/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Kevin Owens VS Dolph Ziggler; Owens wins.
  • Six Woman Tag: Charlotte Flair, Naomi & Becky Lynch VS The Riott Squad; Riott Squad wins.
  • SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders match: The New Day VS Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin; The New Day wins and will challenge The Usos at Fastlane.
  • The Bludgeon Brothers VS Eduardo Especial & Norville Rodgers; Bludgeon Brothers win.
  • Baron Corbin VS AJ Styles; Styles wins.

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PLAY BY PLAY

Renee Young introduces the Phenomenal AJ Styles!

The WWE Champion has found himself in another rough situation, all because SmackDown management cannot agree on what is fair and unfair to everyone else on the SmackDown roster. Last month, he took on Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in a 2v1 handicap match for the title. This month, he will have to take on Kevin, Sami, and now Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler in a Fatal Five!

But Phoenix, Arizona is still on his side as they chant his name in a standing ovation. He thanks their ovation with a shout out on the corner, and Renee asks what Styles feels going forward. Is he still in control of his destiny? “Let me see…” He looks up at the Wrestlemania sign overhead, and says “I feel like any man that steps in this ring with me, I can beat.” Styles may sound cocky but he’s always backed it up. Though, he admits the Fatal Five is a big problem, because anything and everything can happen anywhere inside and outside the ring. Look over at the announce desk. He’d love to put Kevin Owens through that table. But the problem there is that over here in the ring, maybe Ziggler could pin Sami and Styles would lose his title. And speaking of outside, look at the steel steps here. They’re “tailor made” for that “ginger Yep Machine”, Sami, and Styles would love to do it. But then again, in the ring, maybe Ziggler will beat Kevin and Styles loses his title. However, if it was all 1v1, Styles could beat them all: Kevin the former Universal Champion, Styles can win; Sami the “ruthless” Underdog, but Styles can win; Ziggler the Show-Off, “every bit the man he says he is”, but Styles can win; and yes, there’s- Baron Corbin appears right on cue!

If Styles thinks he can beat Corbin, Corbin will stop him before he makes a fool out of himself. The fans boo and jeer, but the last time they went 1v1, Corbin beat Styles. He did it for the United States Championship, and in the rematch. Corbin has Styles number, because there’s a major difference: Styles is an athlete, but Corbin is a fight. Corbin can beat Styles, or someone else, because “there will be nothing” Styles can do about it. Either way, the Lone Wolf will be the new WWE Champion. However, Kevin Owens appears to respond!

The Prizefighter is “so sick” of hearing talk, so he came out to shut them up. Styles doesn’t have to worry about running around, because the one going through a table is Styles via the Pop-Up Powerbomb. As for Corbin, “trying to look tough”, but he wasn’t so tough when Kevin & Sami beat him up. But when Corbin got back up, he dropped Kevin “like the little punk” he is. How cocky for someone being handed an opportunity by Shane McMahon. Corbin doesn’t belong in this match, but Shane’s vendetta against Kevin worked in Corbin’s favor. All because Kevin “destroyed” Vince McMahon with the “headbutt heard around the world”, Shane’s been after Kevin. Kevin has had to scratch and claw for everything on SmackDown! Styles asks if Kevin could repeat some of that, he spaced out. Kevin looks great, by the way. Did he get that boil off his back? What boil? Sami Zayn. Oh ha ha, but Kevin doesn’t need Sami. Sami let Kevin down because Kevin had no time to prepare for Corbin. Sami had all night for Ziggler, yet he still lost. If things were reversed, Kevin would’ve won. But this is what Shane is all about! He’s– Shane appears!

The SmackDown Commissioner hears the “Shane O’Mac!” cheers and thanks Phoenix for that. He has also heard the talk, but no one wants a bunch of talk. It’s time for action! Corbin can put his money where his mouth is, going 1v1 in the main event against AJ Styles. As for Kevin, his conspiracy theory might hold up. Can he do what Sami didn’t do last week? He has a match right now, against… Dolph Ziggler!

Kevin Owens VS Dolph Ziggler!

SmackDown returns and the match begins, Ziggler goes right at Kevin! They brawl with rights, Ziggler gets the takedown and rains down rights. Kevin gets free and then out of the ring, but Ziggler slips out to pursue. Kevin kicks low and clubs Ziggler over to the announce desk. He bounces Ziggler off the desk then puts him back in the ring, but Ziggler responds with a dropkick. Kevin exits the ring again, so Ziggler comes out to keep up the attack. Ziggler bumps Kevin off steps and the desk, then puts him back in the ring. Ziggler follows Kevin to a corner but Kevin chops back. He stomps Ziggler, then scoops, but Ziggler slips out to dropkick Kevin down again! Kevin again leaves the ring but Ziggler still pursues. Ziggler swings but ends up put into the barriers! Kevin shouts “Not showing off now, Dolph!?” before he puts Ziggler back in the ring. But Ziggler springs back up to dropkick Kevin back down! Kevin hits the floor on the outside, and Ziggler catches his breath before going back out. Ziggler whips Kevin but Kevin reverses to send Ziggler hard into the LED apron.

Kevin puts Ziggler back in the ring and goes for the back senton, but Ziggler evades! Ziggler gets to his feet and runs at Kevin in a corner for the big splash. He transitions to the neckbreaker but Kevin reverses that into a suplex. Ziggler resists, and suplexes Kevin up and over! Kevin clutches his back as he makes his way to a corner. Ziggler walks over and throws in hands before grinding Kevin’s face on the top rope. Kevin kicks back at Ziggler’s bad leg but Ziggler hits back with a back elbow. Ziggler runs into the corner but Kevin evades, Ziggler bounces off buckles. Kevin goes corner to corner and hits the cannonball! Cover, TWO! Kevin is already frustrated while we go picture in picture.

Ziggler rolls and slumps out of the ring, but Kevin shouts “This is MY show!” Kevin goes out and stomps on Ziggler before dragging him up. He whips Ziggler hard into the barriers, then takes his time mouthing off at Byron. Kevin returns to pick Ziggler up and into the ring, before covering. TWO, and Kevin continues to be annoyed. He taunts Ziggler as he crawls to ropes, but then Ziggler hits back with an elbow. Ziggler throws haymakers, then runs but gets a flapjack to ropes! Elbow drop DDT, cover, TWO! Kevin drags Ziggler up to drive elbows into his shoulders and neck. Kevin mocks the fans cheering for Ziggler before hitting the back senton. Cover, TWO, and Kevin wraps on an aggressive chinlock. Kevin continues to taunt the fans while he squeezes Ziggler’s head. Ziggler endures, reaching for a way out. He works his way up to his feet and fights his way out of the hold. Kevin throws in a knee, back suplex but Ziggler escapes to put on his own sleeper hold. Kevin backs into a corner but Ziggler holds on. Out of desperation, Kevin runs at ropes and they both fall out of the ring! We return to single picture as they both slowly stir.

The referee counts while Ziggler and Kevin slowly make their way over to the ring. Kevin puts Ziggler in but Ziggler jumps and hits the satellite DDT! The fans applaud while both men go down again. The fans duel with chants, Kevin and Ziggler drag themselves up with ropes. Kevin runs at Ziggler but into a back elbow, then into the post! Ziggler gets Kevin quick with the neckbreaker, covers, TWO! Ziggler keeps focus as he gets back to his feet. He throws in the kick but Kevin counters to the fireman’s carry, and gutbuster, to then Vader Bomb elbow drop! TWO! The frustration is growing, but Kevin keeps moving. The fans duel while Kevin climbs up to the top. Ziggler stops him with a right hand! Ziggler climbs up now, and the fans fire up, but Kevin resists the superplex. He headbutts Ziggler down but Ziggler returns, only to be shoved off again! SWANTON, hits knees! FAMOUSER!

TWO! Both men are too exhausted and sore to express much of anything, but the fans know “This is Awesome!” Kevin and Ziggler get to ropes and drag themselves up, but Kevin holds ropes to deny the Zig-Zag. He goes to throw a kick but Ziggler blocks, Ziggler goes to kick but Kevin blocks. Kevin throws Ziggler to ropes, Pop-Up but no powerbomb, ZIG-ZAG! TWO!? Ziggler’s best move didn’t end this and he shows his frustration. The two get up slowly again, but Ziggler runs in for the big splash! he runs again, but Sami Zayn comes out? He runs right up to the very end of the ramp, Kevin SUPERKICKS Ziggler in the back of the head! Cover, Kevin wins! Sami gets the assist, but will this come back to bite one of the two “best friends” at Fastlane?

 

Jinder Mahal comes to the ring.

The Modern Day Maharaja has made a “startling discovery”. He believes the WWE Universe needs to know this. For Bobby Roode has a secret, but Mahal believes in transparency. The fans are in for a “Roode Awakening” of sorts. Roode has his own SmackDown Top Ten Superstars List! The list has:

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

Obviously Bobby broke the rules, he made himself Number One. Another thing to note, aside from Mahal being off the list, is that a certain someone else isn’t on the list either. There is no mention of Randy Orton. Roode thinks he’s better than Orton, thinking himself “the new Legend Killer”. Yet Roode says he respects Orton? If no one has put it together, it’s that Roode is just a GLORIOUS ego maniac and INGLORIOUS liar! But the GLORIOUS One appears to respond.

Roode doesn’t know what Mahal is talking about, but that isn’t Roode’s list. However, Roode has a secret about Mahal: he can’t even make a single Top Ten List. But also, Mahal just wants to be US Champion so hard that he’s trying to use Orton and Roode against each other. He wants Roode paranoid, but the truth is, “in a fair fight”, Mahal can’t beat Roode. The fans agree, “You Can’t Win!” Mahal admits to the fact that he wants the US Championship, but he wants Roode to “speak the truth”, too. Roode does think he’s better than Orton. No, Roode never said that. So then he does? No, he never said. So, Roode is afraid of Orton? He’s never said anything of the sort. But one person he’s not afraid of, is Mahal. “Well you should be.” Mahal beat Orton, so then- FORGET Randy Orton!! Roode takes off his jacket, because “this is about you and me.”

The two stare down and fans cheer on Roode, but The Viper appears anyway!

Orton knows Roode has been running his mouth, but so has Mahal. That said, Orton goes after Mahal, and Roode helps out! Mahal gets sent out of the ring, but then Orton goes for an RKO on Roode! Roode narrowly denies it, and hits the GLORIOUS DDT! The fans cheer for Roode, and Roode tells Orton, “fool me once, shame on me!” He won’t be caught off guard again! At least, not by Orton, as Mahal returns to hit Roode with a Kalas! The Modern Day Maharaja is once again standing tall over Roode and Orton. Is Mahal’s plan going to work out all the way to making him the next United States Champion?

 

SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan, sees what has happened.

He didn’t realize the SmackDown Top Ten would cause such a stir. Clearly Mahal has a plan on how to use it to his advantage. Shane wonders what Bryan plans next. Obviously Roode should defend his title at Fastlane, “against the man who has gotten the better of him.” That’s Mahal. But Orton answered the open challenge last week, and fans would love that match-up. They’re oddly not on the same page. Not the first time. But that’s only because Bryan wants two names to compete for the title: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. #Kami is already back to their old ways, they can’t be trusted. That’s why Shane had to give a chance to Corbin and Ziggler. Bryan says that Shane chose him to be GM because he trusted him to run SmackDown. Yet, Shane’s been questioning him at every turn. Only because Bryan makes emotional choices. Roode VS Orton is the better choice, and Shane makes it that, period. “Whatever you want, boss.” The tension remains, what will it take for SmackDown management to put differences aside?

 

Six Woman Tag: Charlotte Flair, Naomi & Becky Lynch VS The Riott Squad!

The Queen of SmackDown has gone up 2-0 on The Riott Squad by defeating Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan. Her sweep will have to wait, however, as she and her friends take on the entire Squad amidst the race to find a #1 contender to her title. Can #RoyalGlowFire keep up the momentum on the Road to Wrestlemania?

The bell rings and we start with Sarah Logan and Charlotte. They tie up, Charlotte shoves Sarah away and dares Ruby to step up. Ruby refuses, so Sarah ties up with Charlotte again. Charlotte throws Sarah down and puts on a headlock, then tags in Naomi. Naomi prepares, and Charlotte feeds Sarah to the Twerk Attack! Naomi runs in but Sarah runs her over! However, Naomi springs right up and then ducks the punches to slide under and jump over. She kicks Sarah right in the thigh, then tags in Becky. They double whip and double hip toss Sarah down, before the Lass Kicker throws in leg drops and elbow drops. Becky covers, TWO, but Becky keeps focus. She scoops Sarah but Sarah slips out and throws Becky down by her hair. Sarah tags in Ruby and together they double suplex. Becky escapes and calls in reinforcements, she and Naomi double dropkick Ruby & Sarah. Liv gets mad, she gets a double hip toss then a clothesline! The Squad is on the defense while we go to break.

SmackDown returns to Becky and Ruby in the ring. Becky goes to kick but Ruby forces her to roll. Becky whips Ruby then arm-drags her down. Another arm-drag and Becky puts Ruby in an arm-drag. She taunts the rest of the Squad, which upsets Liv most of all. The fans cheer for Becky as she wrenches and yanks Ruby’s arm. Tag to Naomi for a slingshot sunset on Ruby, TWO. Ruby knees low and grabs Naomi in a headlock. She tags in Liv and Liv rolls Naomi, TWO. Naomi gets the waistlock but Liv the standing switch. Naomi bucks her off then they bump shoulders, but neither woman budges. They go again, still a solid collision. They go a third time but Liv goes Matrix, then Naomi does the splits! Naomi kicks then bulldog bumps Liv off buckles. The fans fire up while Naomi hits the split-leg moonsault, but The Squad drag Liv out. In that case, Naomi slingshots onto both Ruby & Sarah!

Liv throws Naomi into steel steps! She drags Naomi up and into the ring, then covers, TWO. Liv drags Naomi over and tags Sarah in. They stomp on Naomi, then Sarah puts Naomi in an Anaconda Vice of sorts. Sarah wrenches and thrashes Naomi around while the fans rally. Naomi feeds off the energy and gets up to fight back, only for Sarah to drag her right back down. The Squad taunt Naomi to give up, but Naomi endures. Naomi reaches for ropes with her legs but Sarah drags her away. The fans rally again, Naomi gets up but Sarah wrings her out for back elbow after back elbow. Sarah stomps Naomi in a corner, then drags her up for forearms. She runs in but Naomi evades, only for Sarah to suplex her. Naomi slips out and retaliates with a jumping headscissors! The two head for their corners while the fans rally, hot tag to Charlotte! The SmackDown Women’s Champion rallies on all three members of the Squad, then chops away on Sarah. She adds a jumping knee, then some styling and profiling…

Before the neckbreaker and boot! Charlotte grabs a leg but Liv distracts, so Charlotte boots her down. Sarah chop blocks the other leg! Then another chop block! Charlotte goes down but she manages to shove Sarah away to tag in Becky! Becky climbs up and hits a missile dropkick on Sarah. Sarah hurries to tag in Ruby, but Becky rallies on the Squad leader all the same. Becksploder, then another, and Becky has the fans fired up. She hits Ruby with a forearm smash, then one for Sarah. Becky grabs the arm, but Ruby rolls, TWO, into the Disarm-Her! Ruby endures, Liv breaks it up! Charlotte boots Liv then exploder suplex throws her! Naomi takes shotgun knees from Sarah, but Sarah takes a Becksploder! Ruby pounces, Riott Kick! Cover, The Riott Squad wins! Charlotte may be 2-0 in 1v1, but The Squad wins again as a unit. Can Ruby herself turn it around to even the score?

 

Kevin finds Sami backstage.

Kevin thanks Sami, and apologizes for what he said, but Sami says he should thank Kevin. He was right, things have been rocky, but in the end, Sami owes Kevin. Sami was spinning his wheels, but now that he is alongside Kevin, he’s headlining PPV’s and title matches. Sami will be the Guardian Angel, because he has always done what’s right. In this case, that’s paying back a friend. Seriously? Yep. Which is why they need to use this plan of division against Shane, because they’re both stronger than anyone. Then when it’s just Kevin & Sami, Sami will do “the right thing”: He will lay down for Kevin. Kevin is taken aback, but that’s fine. Sami just wants Kevin to win and main-event Wrestlemania. THey hug it out, but Kevin still looks very confused. Is a lay-down victory really going to happen at Fastlane?

 

SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders match: The New Day VS Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin!

Awwwwwwwwww… PHOENIX!” Don’t be sour, the four time WWE Tag Team Champions are competing for a chance at a fifth! However, Gable & Benjamin felt robbed last week and demanded this rematch. SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan acknowledged the gripe, so this match will settle a grudge as well as determine who faces The Usos at Fastlane.

Woods and Gable start, at the bell. Gable gets the leg and covers, ONE. Things speed up, Gable shoves Woods to keep things moving, Woods gets the waistlock. Gable resists and gets the standing switch, then things speed up again, Woods runs Gable over with a lariat! Cover, ONE, but Woods stays focused. He brings Gable up but Gable escapes the suplex. Woods elbows him away, Benjamin tags in, Woods doesn’t see it until he runs into a kick. Gable feeds Woods to Benjamin’s spinebuster, cover, TWO. Benjamin sits Woods up to punch him down, then brings him up for a scoop slam. Benjamin brings Gable up but Woods fights back. Woods backs Benjamin down, then mule kicks, but Benjamin responds with a running knee. Cover, TWO, and we go single picture.

Benjamin drags Woods up, then Gable tags in. They lift Woods up for the flying knee back suplex. Gable blasts Big E away before covering, but TWO! Gable keeps focus as he goes after Woods’ arm again and again. He grounds Woods with the armlock, but fans rally. Woods gets up and fights back with body shots and chops. Gable blocks a chop to throw Woods down, then rock him with the rolling kick! Cover, TWO! Tag to Benjamin, and they continue working that arm. Benjamin drags Woods up, puts that bad arm into a hammerlock, then throws Woods into the buckles. Benjamin hoists Woods up to the top rope, then climbs up. Woods fights back, but Benjamin rock shim with the step-up knee!

SmackDown returns to single picture while Benjamin climbs up. He sits Woods up but Woods fights back again. They brawl on the top, Woods gets the better with a headbutt. WOods readjusts, jumps and hits the missile dropkick! The fans rally, “New! Day Rocks!” Hot tags to Gable and Big E! Big E rallies with overhead belly2belly suplexes, but Gable slips around the side belly2belly to try a backslide. Gable gets Big E halfway, but Big E swings it back to swing Gable over his back. But then Gable gets Big E with the Belly2Belly overhead! Cover, TWO! The Olympian can’t believe it, so he takes his frustration out on Woods. Gable then climbs up to the top rope, moonsault but he lands on his feet when Big E evades. He runs in at Big E, Big E yurinagis Gable down! Big E rallies the fans while he stalks Gable. The scoop, but Gable slips out to feed Big E into a corner. Big E elbows back then hops up, but Gable rocks him with a palm strike! Tag to Benjamin, Gable kicks Woods away before climbing up. Benjamin manages to power Big E up into powerbomb position, but Kofi gets on the apron to distract the ref. Gable & Benjamin hit the Doomsday, but the ref is slow to seeing it. This gives Woods time to get in and break the cover! Gable throws Woods out, then the argue with the ref. Woods tags in, the ref sees that. Woods throws Gable out, rocks Benjamin with a forearm and Shining Wizard! The New Day win again! They’re once again #1 Contenders!

However, while they’re celebrating with pancakes, the Bludgeon Brothers appear.

Harper & Rowan have cryptically yet also bluntly made it known they want after The Usos. They leave the New Day alone for right now, because they have their own match to worry about next. What poor souls will be sacrificed to these two in their pursuit of gold?

 

The Bludgeon Brothers VS Especial & Rodgers!

Double dropkicks from the bell and there is no hope of recovery. Harper & Rowan take one man each and hit the backbreaker sandwich on the floor! Then Harper becomes a weapon for a scoop slam senton! Harper rips apart the announce desk while Rowan hits both men with a running splash! They drag one man into the ring, then the other. “Eduardo Especial” is placed with “Norville Rodgers” in the corner, for an assisted corner splash! Then they hit Eduardo with the full-nelson sit-out powerbomb! Harper finally tags Rowan in officially, and they give Norville the Bludgeon Bomb! Cover, and the Bludgeon Brothers win again. No mercy, but no word on where Harper & Rowan are headed yet on the Road to Wrestlemania.

 

Ruby Riott speaks.

She and The Squad feel good about beating Charlotte’s team tonight. Naomi is welcomed to a 1v1 rematch next week, but the big prize is Charlotte. The only way Charlotte can attempt the sweep is if she puts the title up at Fastlane. “The cracks in your perfect little world are starting to show,” and Ruby will make it all come crumbling down. Daniel Bryan makes it happen! Can Ruby get the championship to make Charlotte only 2-1?

 

Baron Corbin speaks.

“Arrogant, cocky, smug.” That’s what people say about Corbin, but he prefers, “Dangerous, heartless and better than AJ Styles.” At Fastlane, people will also have to say he’s the new WWE Champion. Can the Lone Wolf take the first step to backing his words with a win here tonight?

 

Baron Corbin VS AJ Styles!

The Phenomenal One still has some time before his Fatal Five Way defense, can he build up momentum using the Lone Wolf while he can?

The bell rings and the two circle. Corbin pokes Styles, Styles fires off strikes. Styles backs Corbin into a corner, but then Corbin turns it around. Corbin swings but Styles slips out to chop away at Corbin. Styles puts Corbin in another corner then throws in shoulder after shoulder. He goes to whip but Corbin denies with strength, to reel Styles into a lariat. Dolph Ziggler watches backstage while Corbin bumps Styles off buckles.

Corbin rams a knee into Styles, Styles chops back. Corbin rocks Styles with a forearm then throws him out, but Styles stays on the apron. Styles shoulders in then slingshots, and narrowly avoids the punch to dropkick Corbin back. He sweeps the legs, then hits a low running forearm. Corbin rolls out of the ring while fans cheer Styles on. Styles walks over, then slingshots over, but Corbin catches him for the choke slam backbreaker! The Lone Wolf is in control while we go to break.

SmackDown returns to see Styles and Corbin brawling. Corbin rocks Styles with a right, and Styles end sup in a corner. Styles evades as Corbin runs in, so Corbin slides out to slide back in and he hits the big lariat! Cover, TWO, and Corbin’s frustration grows. He keeps on Styles with a chinbar and half-nelson. Corbin wrenches Styles but Styles gets to his feet. Styles fights out, but Corbin gets a waistlock, so Styles runs straight at a buckle to ram Corbin’s head into it. Corbin staggers back, Styles runs out but narrowly evades the scoop slam. Styles ends up in a new corner, Corbin runs at him again, but Styles side steps to send him into the post. Corbin tumbles to the outside, and Styles catches his breath before heading over. He wrecks Corbin with a dropkick, then runs at him from the apron for the sliding knee! Corbin goes down while Styles reenters the ring. Corbin drags himself up and around so Styles goes out again. He goes over to Styles but Corbin throws him right over the announce desk! But Styles lands on his feet to hop over the table and back into the ring!

Slingshot forearm! TWO! Styles stands up and drags Corbin up, but Corbin rocks him with a right. Corbin swings but misses, Styles lets out the Phenomenal Blitz. Corbin counters with a body slam, cover, TWO! Styles stirs and Corbin stalks him. Corbin drags Styles over to a corner, then gives a body shot before hoisting him to the top rope. Corbin keeps on Styles with forearms that almost send Styles to the floor. Styles fights back while Corbin climbs up, sending Corbin back. Styles adjusts and jumps but Corbin gets under, so Styles runs back but into a HUGE Deep Six!

TWO! Corbin can’t believe it, but he keeps on Styles all the same. He reels Styles in, but Styles counters End of Days into the Calf Crusher! The fans chant “TAP! TAP!” at Corbin as he endures. Corbin reaches back and rams Styles’ head into the mat! The hold breaks and Corbin gets away to a corner. Styles slowly makes his way up and runs back in, but Corbin puts him on the apron. Corbin sees the forearm coming and grabs Styles at the ropes. He shouts “You can’t beat me!” But Styles knocks him away, to springboard, Phenomenal Forearm! Styles wins!

The WWE Champion proved that he’s just as much a fighter as Corbin. However, #Kami appears to prove they’re as opportunistic as it gets! They go after Styles 2v1, and Kevin holds Styles up for Sami’s Helluva Kick. Kevin finishes dismantling the announce desk, but Corbin gets Sami with End of Days! Kevin returns but even he gets End of Days! The Lone Wolf may have lost tonight, but he is still a dangerous force. What will he do to make sure he wins the furious Fatal Five Way at Fastlane?

 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown already had a tall task ahead of them following up such a great Raw, but not everything in this episode was up to the task. The usual curse of opening with a promo still exists, but it made sense for Styles to explain his mindset going into a tall task of his own. At least it all led to matches like most opening promos do. Ziggler VS Kevin was a really solid match, but Sami showing up to distract was probably as confusing to fans as it was to Kevin in kayfabe. The skepticism is setting in as Sami claims to be putting Kevin’s interests ahead of his own only 7 days after what both sides said last week. Following it up with Mahal trying to use the SmackDown Top Ten List as a way to turn Orton and Roode against each other wasn’t much better. Clearly the list is nothing more than a kayfabe excuse to push feuds, including the Shane-Bryan feud of disagreeing management styles. Bryan wants to help Mahal, but Shane “hinders Jinder” by choosing Orton instead, both options still falling short of the superior triple threat option. Then we follow that up with another copy-paste Six Woman Tag match. The match itself was great, and I did enjoy that Corey Graves actually referenced how similar this is to the Raw Women’s Division situation. However, the difference of Riott Squad winning wasn’t unexpected, since they can’t just be buried so easily. Charlotte VS Ruby for the title, even with The Squad ringside, probably won’t end in Ruby winning the title, it still feels too soon.

Another thing that felt off was making New Day VS Gable & Benjamin a #1 Contenders match out of the blue. The New Day win with more of their old number game tactics, but given what has been building between Usos and Bludgeon Brothers has to play into this. There’s still plenty of time left before Fastlane, perhaps the Bludgeon Brothers will bash their way into the tag title match. But at least Corbin & Styles have an incredible main event match for us. That was probably the most revolutions on a Deep Six ever. Styles wins to live up to his word that he can beat anyone 1v1, and it’s somewhat emphasized by #Kami attacking him 2v1. Again, confusing to see #Kami having patched things up so quickly, but hey, Corbin earns some points by putting them both down. I can’t imagine Styles would lose so close to Wrestlemania and the dream rematch of Styles VS Nakamura, but I expect Corbin to have a pretty good showing at some point during all the Fatal Five madness.

My Score: 7.7/10


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Dynamite Results & Report! (8/17/22)

American Dragon VS Dragonslayer!

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AEW House of the Dragon

Dynamite becomes the House of the Dragon!

AEW has an epic rematch between Bryan Danielson and Daniel Garcia, in a Best Two Out of Three Falls match! Will Red Death truly slay the American Dragon?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Bryan Danielson VS Daniel Garcia; wins.
  • Gunn Club VS The Varsity Blonds; win(s).
  • Toni Storm VS KiLynn King; wins.
  • AEW World Trios Championship Tournament, Opening Round: La Faccion Ingobernable VS The Young Bucks & ???; win(s) and advances.

PLAY BY PLAY

CM Punk is here!

The Best of the World is back and the fans in Charleston, West Virginia are fired up to see him! Especially since he has THE AEW World Championship belt on his shoulder. No stage diving this time, though, he’s being a bit more careful this time. Punk goes to the ring and gets the mic as fans chant his name. “I’m trying to put my tough guy game face on before I came out here, and you guys just ruined it all by making me smile. I don’t got the prettiest smile. What I do have is the prettiest belt! Haven’t been here in some time, and I’ve got some business to attend to. Some things very, very important. Some things not so important.

“I want to get the not so important things outta the way. Where are we? Where are wee tonight? There’s somebody from around these parts that I would like to challenge to a rematch and I would like to do it right here, right now, for you beautiful people.” Fans cheer for that, they wanna see it, too! Punk sits down cross-legged and tells Hangman Adam Page, “You want that rematch, you got it right here, right now. Let’s go!” Fans are fired up for the “Cowboy Sh*t” that could go down, but where is he? Punk checks his mic, but no Hangman, and fans boo. Punk says that’s why this isn’t important. That isn’t Cowboy Sh*t, that’s Coward Sh*t!

“A little bit of advice that I suggest you take: The apology must as loud and as public as the disrespect!” And if anyone else has a problem with THE CHAMPION, Punk suggests they come on down! “Everyone wants to be the champ until it’s time to do champ sh*t!” Fans agree with that as they chant Punk’s name. “Ladies and gentlemen, I understand that Jon Moxley’s got a lot of fans. And he can be number one in your heart, but he’s not number one in this ring. I am THE AEW Champion!!” Punk knows what it takes to be the best, to talk a big game and say you’re the best, and to breathe that into existence.

He also knows what it is like to lose. Punk has lost big, but Moxley has always been number two, there has always been someone who has Mox’s number, and it’s Punk! Boo if you want, but let him know when he’s lying. “Jon Moxley is the third best guy in his own group, and that seems to be a reoccurring theme in his career.” Fans are stunned to hear that. Punk says, “That doesn’t make him a bad guy, but that doesn’t make him the best either.” Punk is the best, but yes, Mox has been carrying the torch when Punk broke his foot. Moxley talks about breaking bones and drinking blood, but between the two of them, the only one’s who has broken bones is Punk! It was his own, but still!

So again, tell Punk when he’s telling lies. Moxley has been INTERIM AEW Champion. Look that word up, it means “temporary.” And Punk is willing to test himself against Moxley, but is Moxley willing to test himself against his best friends? Let’s talk about those friends. Mox’s best friend is the third best Eddie that Punk’s ever faced. And the second best Kingston! These people aren’t number one at anything! Tell Punk when he’s telling a lie! Fans have to admit, he’s got a point. Punk says he’s missed the fans, and he’s missed competing in the ring. He’s been wanting to defend this title on a PPV, and that will be All Out, September 4th, Chicago, Illinois!

Punk is ready to test his belt against Moxley’s “number two with a bullet.” Punk is willing to test his foot! The funny thing is, heading into Chicago, Moxley isn’t even the first Jon/John that Punk beats in Chicago for a title! And he’s certainly not number one there, either. But say his name enough and here he comes! Jon Moxley is heading to the ring but Punk taunts Moxley over the time he takes to make it to the ring. Punk does “mat angels” as Moxley and his AEW World Championship belt go through the crowd. Moxley does make it to ringside, he does get a mic and he does get in the ring to stand there across from Punk.

Fans cheer for Moxley, and Moxley says, “Look out, ladies and gentlemen, CM Punk is dropping pipe bombs! Doing what he does best: writing checks with his mouth that his body can’t cash.” Moxley makes sure to point at Punk’s foot with that. And Moxley tells Punk he’s living in a fantasy land! In Punk’s mind, he’s the best wrestler in the world. But most times, Punk’s not even the best wrestler in catering. Punk thinks his mic in his hand is power. But this is the real world, and that’s just a microphone. And all the words Punk says into it don’t mean sh*t. That belt on Punk’s shoulder don’t mean sh*t. Punk says, “Who’s living in a fantasy world now?”

Moxley says, “To be fair, right now, this belt don’t mean sh*t. Not until I beat you!” Moxley says he IS the heart and soul of AEW, and every time they call him “Interim,” he thinks of Punk and that makes him sick! Punks says, “Good! You can be the ‘heart and soul’, I’ll bet he dollars and the cents!” Both men throw the belts down and inch a bit closer. Punk asks Mox if he’s done talking. Mox says we all know Punk only came to AEW because he ran out of money, so don’t give Mox that. “Being the best is about heart and soul and guts and fighting spirit, and we both know that you ran out of fighting spirit a long time ago.”

Now both men are face to face! Mox says if Punk wants to prove him wrong, then do something about it. But Mox doesn’t think Punk’s gonna do sh*t. Punk says they have a match at the PPV, which Punk will soundly defeat Moxley in. But if Punk touches Moxley now, Punk’s afraid Moxley will just start bleeding all over him. They get forehead to forehead, Moxley puts his hands back behind him to give Punk an open shot. Punk pushes Moxley away, but Moxley comes back with a peck on the cheek! AND A SLAP! The haymakers start flying and fans are fired up for it! Moxley and Punk scrap, security and officials rush in, and fans boo!

Moxley and Punk are separated but Moxley throws off his shirt! Punk eggs Moxley on, security is a wall between them, and fans boo more. Moxley tosses his belt out of the ring, then eggs Punk on! Punk tries to get after Moxley, and Moxley LEAPS onto the pile! The scrum continues but is quickly broken up. Fans want to “LET THEM FIGHT!” and Moxley gets a chair! Moxley tosses it into the ring, and Punk uses it to take a seat! Punk eggs Mox on again, and Mox slides in! They make contact, but the security pulls them apart again! Fans boo some more, but Moxley finds an opening on the other side of the ring! The brawl is back on!

Wait, security just pulls them apart again. Fans boo as the ebb and flow just keeps going, but it seems we’ll all have to wait until Sunday, September 4th. What happens when Punk and Moxley go all out to determine an UNDISPUTED AEW World Champion?

 

Backstage interview with “Powerhouse” Will Hobbs.

Tony Schiavone is with Hobbs and references what we saw last week concerning himself, Ricky Starks and The Factory. Schiavone thought Starks & Hobbs were friends, so why did Hobbs betray Starks? Hobbs says he doesn’t need friends! “Ricky Starks, you proved to the whole world, your true colors came out, you told the world that you were okay with losing. I’m not okay with losing, Ricky! For two years, you got to walk around here and parade around like you’re some God’s gift to this business. You got to hide behind Powerhouse Hobbs’ back, because you knew I would get the job done.”

Hobbs was hired for one thing: make sure Starks stayed champion. And Starks couldn’t do it! Now Ricky, Hobbs not only breaks backs, he also breaks necks. And as far as The Factory goes, Hobbs has something for them, too! Will the Powerhouse turn into a juggernaut and demolish everyone in his way?

 

Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Bryan Danielson VS Daniel Garcia!

The American Dragon fought hard against Red Death, but was screwed over by The Wizard! Sounds like Game of Thrones, but it’s pro-wrestling! Or as the Jericho Appreciation Society calls it, “Sports Entertainment.” However, Bryan dares Garcia to look inside himself and decide: Is he the Best Technical Sports Entertainer? Or is he the Best Technical Pro-Wrestler? With Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat as the special guest timekeeper, will the Dragonslayer slay the American Dragon? Or will he JOIN the American Dragon in the Blackpool Combat Club?

But first, Chris Jericho joins commentary! Fans sing Judas for him as he joins Excalibur, Taz, and Good ol’ JR, then Bryan makes his entrance. Bryan shakes hands with Steamboat, then Garcia makes his entrance, complete with a new Dragonslayer logo on his tron. The bell rings on the first fall and fans rally up. The two circle, feel out the grapple, and Bryan shoots in to get a leg. Bryan trips Garcia but Garcia fights back and trips Bryan. Garcia goes for a leg, but Bryan trips him back and rains down forearms! Garcia guards but Bryan moves around. Garcia slips out, back mounts, but Bryan stands up.

Garcia is a backpack but Bryan snapmares and rolls! It’s a rough landing but Garcia holds on, then he drags Bryan around. Bryan slips out, throws body shots from above, then has a KNEEBAR! Garcia moves around to stand up, and he has a HEEL HOOK! Bryan endures, stomps at Garcia’s face but Garcia gives those back! They stomp and kick each other back and forth, but Bryan puts on a HEEL HOOK of his own! Fans cheer this technical exchange and the two end up in the ropes! The ref counts, the two let each other go, but then Garcia BOOTS Bryan into a corner! Garcia eggs Bryan on while fans boo.

Bryan stands up, they reset, tie up, and Garcia puts Bryan in a corner. Fans rally for Bryan as Garcia smothers him, but the ref counts. Garcia lets off to SLAP Bryan! Bryan keeps cool as AEW goes picture in picture.

Garcia taunts Bryan but Bryan puts his dukes up. Bryan KICKS Garcia’s leg, then eggs Garcia on. Garcia returns but Bryan KICKS the leg again! They tie up, Bryan SLAPS Garcia now, and Garcia wobbles a bit. Garcia throws some testing jabs but Bryan shrugs those off. Bryan throws body shots, then SMACKS Garcia! Bryan suplexes high and hard, covers, TWO! Bryan drags Garcia around by a leg, turns him over and hooks up the legs. Bryan reaches for the arms, brings them back, and then up and up and ROMERO SPECIAL! Garcia endures being held overhead, then Bryan sets him down to fishhook the nose!

The ref reprimands but Bryan throws haymakers onto Garcia’s head, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Garcia falls forward, out of the leg hooks, and fans rally up. Bryan paces, watches Garcia get up, and then KICKS him in the chest! Garcia is right up to CHOP! Bryan smirks and Garcia eggs him on. Bryan CHOPS back, so Garcia CHOPS again. Bryan smirks, dusts that off, and fans rally up more. Bryan and Garcia talk some trash, Garcia SLAPS Bryan! Bryan squats and Garcia kicks at him. Garcia eggs Bryan on, Bryan snarls and stands back up. Bryan stares Garcia down as AEW returns to single picture, and the forearms fire off! Bryan KICKS away on Garcia in the corner!

Fans chant “YES! YES! YES!” with every shot! Bryan goes corner to corner to DROPKICK! Bryan puts Garcia up top, climbs up after him, then SUPER STEINERS, but Garcia rolls it to a sunset flip! TWO! Bryan EuroUppers, Garcia CHOPS, but Bryan EuroUppers again! Garcia CHOPS, Bryan EuroUppers, Garcia kicks low then EuroUppers back. Garcia whips Bryan to a corner, Bryan goes up and over, then keeps moving! Bryan ducks and dodges but Garcia spins him for a BUTTERFLY SUPLEX into the ARMBAR! Bryan sits up, fans rally up, and Bryan clasps hands. Bryan fights but Garcia pushes him down!

Bryan rolls through, leg capture and BACK SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Garcia escapes but Bryan goes for the legs! Bryan ties the legs up, rains down forearms, and then hooks an arm! REGAL STRETCH!! Bryan makes his mentor proud while Garcia endures to make his mentor proud! Garcia crawls, reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Bryan lets off, Garcia bails out, and Bryan builds speed! Bryan WRECKS Garcia with a dropkick! Then he goes to the apron to FLYING- NO, Garcia dodges the knee to SAIDO to the floor! Fans are torn as Garcia stands back up. Garcia drags Bryan up with a facelock and he puts Bryan in the ring.

Fans rally and Garcia looms over Bryan. Garcia sits Bryan up for HAMMER ‘N’ ANVIL ELBOWS! That’s a very BCC move! Fans boo but Jericho loves it! Garcia gets the legs, SHARP- NO, Bryan spins it through! Bryan kicks Garcia down into the TRIANGLE HOLD! Garcia is caught but he stands up. Bryan throws hands but Garcia hooks Bryan up! PILEDRIVER!! Omoplata and DRAGON SLEEPER!!! Bryan is fading, the fans rally, but he’s OUT! That’s the first fall to Garcia!

Bryan: 0; Garcia: 1

The ref checks if Bryan is okay to continue, but Garcia says this is just the first fall! This isn’t over until he has his second! The ref starts a standing count, if Bryan can’t answer it, he’s lost! Garcia backs off to watch Bryan, and we’re past 5 of 10! Bryan crawls and stands at 8, so Garcia CLOBBERS him! Garcia stomps a mudhole while fans boo! Garcia lets off at the ref’s count to soak up the heat, then he storms back up on Bryan. Garcia stands Bryan up, EuroUppers, and CHOPS! Bryan looks dazed but Garcia brings him up to CHOP again! Garcia soaks up more heat while fans boo and he goes corner to corner. Garcia runs in to SHOTGUN Bryan, and AEW goes to break!

 


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Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 32 Results & Report! (8/17/22)

And then there were four!

Published

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NJPW G1 Climax 32

The G1 Climax’s Final Four face off!

A VS B and C VS D, the biggest G1 Climax in NJPW history reaches its semifinals! Will Tetsuya Naito make Will Ospreay trainquilo? Will Kazuchika Okada make it rain on the Good Bad Guy?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Suzuki-Gun; Chaos wins.
  • Royce Isaacs & Tom Lawlor VS Dangerous Tekkers; Dangerous Tekkers win.
  • Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe VS Bad Dude Tito & JONAH; Tito & Jonah win.
  • Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano, David Finlay & KUSHIDA VS Bullet Club; Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida win.
  • G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga; Okada wins and advances to the finals.
  • G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay; Ospreay wins and advances to the finals.

PLAY BY PLAY

G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Kazuchika Okada VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!

It’s A Block VS B Block, Rainmaker VS Good Bad Guy! And in G1 Climax 31, Okada lost to Tama! Will history repeat itself? Or will Tama have to fall back to the golden ticket he got from beating Jay White?

The bell rings and fans rally up already as the two circle. Tama and Okada shake hands to show there’s respect here and fans cheer more. Okada and Tama tie up, are in a deadlock, but Okada uses his height as leverage. Okada puts Tama on the ropes and the ref calls for the break. Okada lets off, pats Tama on the shoulders, but Tama rushes in. Okada kicks low, headlocks, but Tama powers up and out. Okada runs Tama over and fans fire up. Okada runs, Tama gets up to arm-drag Okada around! Then Tama dropkicks Okada down! Fans fire up more as Tama brings Okada up. Tama CLUBS Okada and follows him to a corner.

Tama throws body shots, but Okada throws forearms! Tama knees low, Okada throws body shots but Tama CLUBS Okada down. Fans rally as Tama whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs in but into a back elbow. Tama runs at Okada but into the FLAPJACK! Fans applaud while Okada catches his breath. Jado coaches Tama while fans rally up. Okada drags Tama up, ROCKS him with a forearm, and Tama goes to ropes. Okada brings Tama around to CLUB him on the neck. Okada puts Tama in a corner and throws a back elbow. And then another! And then another! The ref counts and Okada lets off.

Fans rally, Jado coaches Tama, but Okada brings Tama up. Tama throws body shots but Okada knees low. Okada turns Tama for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Okada sits Tama up for a chinlock. Tama endures while Okada squeezes tight. The fans rally up more as Okada turns and twists Tama. Tama fights up to his feet, throws elbows, but Okada knees low. Okada throws Tama out of the ring then follows after. Tama staggers up into a kick and DDT to the floor! Okada leaves Tama behind while fans rally up. Jado coaches Tama while the ring count climbs. We’re at 5 of 20 but Tama is still down.

Tama pushes up off the floor at 10 of 20 and crawls his way over, and he drags himself up at 16, only to fall! Tama springs up and in at 19! Okada walks over and kicks Tama around while the fans rally up. “O-KA-DA!” eggs Tama on, so Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Okada eggs Tama on, Tama keeps throwing hands, but Okada DECKS Tama with one! Okada whips Tama to a corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Okada! Fans fire up and rally again as Tama drags himself up the ropes. Tama rushes Okada to LARIAT, and ELBOW, and scoop SLAM! OFF COMES THE VEST! Fans fire up with Tama as he claps, “TA-MA! TA-MA!”

Okada is in the corner, Tama runs in to STINGER SPLASH! And then a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans continue to rally as Tama paces around. Tama brings Okada up to CLUB him down, then he throws body shots. Tama dragon sleepers but Okada fights free! Tama throws a body shot, an uppercut, and then whips. Okada ducks ‘n’ dodges to CLOBBER Tama with an elbow! Fans rally and Okada whips Tama into a corner. Okada runs in to back elbow, then kicks and DDTs! Cover, TWO! Fans clap for “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” as Okada watches Tama stand. Tama staggers into the Alabama Lift! But Tama fights it off with body shots!

Okada ROCKS Tama, but Tama ROCKS Okada. Okada EuroUppers but Tama EuroUppers back! Okada swings but into the TONGAN TWIST! Fans rally up again as Okada bails out of the ring. Tama goes out after Okada and brings him up, but Okada throws body shots! Okada whips Tama into railing, and Tama bounces off into a scoop! But Tama fights that to a TONGAN TWIST to the floor! A bit of payback from earlier! Fans rally up while the ref checks both men. Both men are able to continue and Tama stands first. The ring count starts and Tama drags Okada up at 5 of 20 to put him in at 6. Fans cheer as this match continues.

Tama stalks Okada while the fans clap. Okada stands, Tama rushes in, VENENO! Cover, TWO! Tama paces around then brings Okada back up. Tama fireman’s carries, but Okada fights free and spins Tama. ROLLING- NO, Tama ducks the lariat to fireman’s carry! S R C! Tama heads for the corner and fans fire up! SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives and Tama grows frustrated, but Jado calls the shot! Tama and Jado pound the mat, and fans clap along. Tama watches Okada rise, then he rushes in, GUN- NO, Okada turns that into the BACK2BACKBREAKER! And then the MONEY CLIP!!

Tama endures and fans rally up! Tama reaches out and gets the ROPEBREAK! Okada lets go in frustration but fans fire up more. The fans continue to rally, “O-KA-DA!” “GOOD BAD GUY!” Okada drags Tama up, scoops him and SLAMS him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs up and fans rally for the MACHO ELBOW! And of course, the Rainmaker Pose! Okada drags Tama up, wristlocks, but Tama throws back elbows. Okada CLUBS Tama, EuroUppers and runs, but into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up as Tama takes Okada down! Tama drags Okada up, but Okada fights off the suplex to shove and DROPKICK Tama in return!

Okada drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks to slips around, BLOODY SUNDAY!! Shoutout to the Prince! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Tama just reloads and brings him back up! Double underhooks, but Okada fights free to LARIAT! Not quite the Rainmaker but Okada holds onto the wrist! Fans rally as Okada slowly rises back up. Okada drags Tama up, for a short arm LARIAT! Okada fires up and the fans follow suit! He drags Tama back up, ripcords, but Tama ducks and runs, into a DROPKICK! But he gets back up! Tama is roaring, fans are fire dup, but Okada scoops for the LANDSLIDE!!

Okada then ripcords Tama, GUN STUN!!! But Tama can’t make the cover! Jado shouts to Tama, he crawls over to Okada, pushes Okada over for the cover, TWO!!! Okada survives because of the delay! Fans are thunderous while both men are still down! Tama rises and he drags Okada back up. Tama reels Okada in, underhooks the arms, but Okada fights the lift! Tama CLUBS Okada, CLUBS him again, and fans rally as Tama CLUBS Okada one more time. Tama brings Okada up, reels him in again, but Okada back drops and sits on the cover! TWO!! Tama swings, but into a waistlock! Tama fights the suplex, throws elbows, and then whips.

Okada reverses but Tama dodges the dropkick! And he hurries to underhook, but Okada slips out! GUN- NO, Okada holds it off this time, to then get the wristlock! Ripcord, GUN- NO!! Okada turns it into a MONEY CLIP!!! Fans rally as hard as ever, and Tama turns clip into cradle! TWO!!! Okada escapes, BOOTS, but Tama PELES! Tama reloads fast and waits on Okada to stand! Okada is up, Tama runs in, GUN- NO!!! Okada fights it again, to ENZIGURI! And then pump handle scoop, POWERSLAM!! Ripcord, RAINMAKER!!! Cover, Okada wins!

Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)

Tama put up one hell of a fight, truly worthy of the biggest G1 Climax ever, but it just wasn’t enough to stop the Rainmaker! Will Okada not stop until he has that Right to Challenge briefcase once more?

 

G1 Climax 32 Semifinal: Tetsuya Naito VS Will Ospreay w/ Great-O-Khan!

It’s C Block VS D Block, Uncontrollable Charisma VS Commonwealth Kingpin! We know Okada awaits in the finals, will he be facing one of his great rivals in Naito? Or will it be one of his great enemies in Ospreay?

Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire while Ospreay takes his time with his coat and two title belts. Fans rally, “NA-I-TO!” “O-SU-PREAY!” and the bell rings. Ospreay encourages the fans to get louder so they do, and Naito says that’s nice. The two then circle, Naito goes back and forth to toy with Ospreay, but then they tie up. They’re in a deadlock, but Ospreay finds a point of leverage. He puts Naito on the ropes and Red Shoes counts. Ospreay pats Naito but Naito turns things around. Naito has Ospreay on the ropes, but then pats Ospreay on the shoulders. To then kick low and CLUB him on the neck! And again!

Red Shoes reprimands but Naito whips Ospreay. Ospreay reverses, Naito holds ropes and BOOTS Back, to then RANA! But Ospreay handsprings through! Naito ducks the Penalty Kick, avoids the Standing Moonsault, then arm-drags Ospreay! Naito ducks a roundhouse and tranquilos! Ospreay smirks while Naito bails out. Fans rally up while Naito stares Khan down. Khan keeps his distance and Naito takes a walk around the ring. Khan tells Naito to get back in so Naito does. Naito and Ospreay circle, feel out a knuckle lock, then circle some more. Ospreay blocks Naito’s kick! Naito tries to reach Ospreay but he can’t!

Ospreay ROCKS Naito with a forearm, then another! Ospreay whips, atomic drops and CHOPS Naito down, for the STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up and Khan cheers Ospreay on. Ospreay drags Naito up, ROCKS him again, then bumps him off buckles. Ospreay CHOPS Naito in the corner, then stalks him to another corner. Ospreay CHOPS again and Naito staggers. Ospreay whips him but Naito reverses, only for Ospreay to go up and over. Naito dodges, blocks a kick and puts Ospreay in the ropes for a DRAPING BACKBREAKER! Naito then whips Ospreay to ropes for a hip toss! And basement dropkick! Naito keeps going, NECKBREAKER!

Fans fire up while Ospreay clutches his neck. Fans rally up and Naito brings Ospreay into a chinlock. Naito grinds Ospreay down with an almost bulldog choke but Ospreay endures. Fans rally up more, Ospreay pulls hair but Red Shoes reprimands. Naito lets off to snapmare Ospreay into a headscissor hold! Naito pushes up to put pressure on the neck but Ospreay endures. Ospreay rolls around and gets the ROPEBREAK! Red Shoes counts and Khan protests, and Naito lets off. Fans rally up as Naito brings Ospreay around. Naito ROCKS Ospreay but Ospreay ROCKS Naito, repeat! Naito then CLUBS Ospreay on the neck!

Naito CLUBS away on Ospreay in the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Naito runs in to JUMP KICK! Leg sweep, SWINGING DROPKICK! Combinacion Cabron! Fans fire up as Naito poses, then covers, TWO! Fans rally up and Naito stomps Ospreay around. Naito brings Ospreay up to cravat and neck wrench! Ospreay endures, drops to a knee, and fans rally again. Ospreay fights back up, throws body shots, but Naito ROCKS him again. Naito whips, Ospreay reverses but Naito reverses again. Naito swings into a full nelson, but he arm-drags free! Naito dodges and whips but Ospreay handsprings to NEURALIZER!

Fans fire up while both men are down. Ospreay sits up and grits his teeth. Ospreay waits on Naito to get up, but Naito is slow. Ospreay fireman’s carries to then SNAKE EYES and BOOT! Ospreay goes to the apron and fans fire up with him. Ospreay aims at Naito, springboards and PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is annoyed but fans continue to rally. Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in, but Naito resists the lift. Ospreay keeps trying but Naito flails. Ospreay CLUBS Naito, throws a quick Kowada Kick, then CHOPS Naito off his feet! Naito gets up but Ospreay reels him in, only for Naito to fight the bomb!

Naito ducks the lariat to BACKBREAKER into the LEG HOOK NELSON! Naito slaps Ospreay around but Ospreay still endures. Ospreay moves around, but Naito drags him from ropes! Fans rally, Naito puts on more pressure, but Ospreay kicks his way around! ROPEBREAK! Fans fire up as Red Shoes counts, and Naito lets Ospreay go. Fans rally as Naito stands and Ospreay drags himself up the ropes. Naito hammerlocks and half nelsons but Ospreay fights off the lift! Naito ripcords but Ospreay ducks the elbow. Naito CLUBS Ospreay, dodges a haymaker, then ROCKS Ospreay! Naito runs, into the Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! But Naito rebounds, into a SPANISH FLY!!

Fans are thunderous as both men are down again! Ospreay and Naito sit up, talk some trash, and then get forehead to forehead. Naito throws a forearm but Ospreay gives it back. Naito grins and forearms Ospreay again! Ospreay ROCKS Naito back! Ospreay eggs Naito on so Naito ROCKS Ospreay! Ospreay roars and fans fire up, and Ospreay throws another forearm! Naito gives another, and they go back and forth! Fans rally up as the speed picks up! Ospreay fires off a flurry, then CHOPS!! Naito staggers and Ospreay waits on him. Naito comes back to SLAP Ospreay! Ospreay grins and fans fire up!

Ospreay blocks a kick, ducks the enziguri but Naito dodges Hidden Blade to TORNADO- NO! Ospreay blocks to suplex and BRAINBUSTER! But Ospreay holds on, brings Naito back up, suplexes but Naito RANAS! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay escapes in time but Naito gets him for the TORNADO DDT! Fans are thunderous again while both men are down. Naito and Ospreay stir and Naito sits up first. Naito crawls his way over, drags Ospreay up, and throws heavy back elbows! Ospreay drops to a knee, but Naito brings him up for more heavy elbows! Ospreay drops again but he grabs at Naito. Naito brings Ospreay up for even more heavy elbows!

Ospreay falls over backwards, and the tape on his shoulders is coming off! Naito hammerlocks, half nelsons, and hits GLORIA! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is still in this but Naito is still smiling. Naito brings Ospreay up again, wrenches the arm, but Ospreay RAMS him into the corner! Ospreay runs in but Naito alley-oops him into the corner! Naito then sits Ospreay up on the top rope backwards, and climbs up behind him! Naito goes up to SUPER POISON-RANA!!! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay survives and fans are thunderous! Naito aims from the corner as Ospreay rises, then he runs in to CORRIENDO SHIKI- NO, Ospreay blocks Destino!

But Ospreay also holds Naito up! Ospreay ties up the legs, MAGIC CROSS DRIVER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous again as Ospreay aims from the corner! Naito sits up, Ospreay rushes in, HIDDEN BLADE!!! But Ospreay isn’t satisfied with that, he drags Naito up! Underhook and lift, STORM- DESTINO!!! Naito turns things around but both men are down! The fans are electric as both men stir on the mat! Naito crawls over to Ospreay, drags him up, but Ospreay BOOTS! Naito ENZIGURIS! Naito scoops but Ospreay slips out to HOOK KICK! Ospreay calls his shot, springboards, but Naito ducks the OsCutter! SPINEBUSTER!!

Naito hauls Ospreay up to wrench and- NO, Ospreay turns it, CHELSEA GRIN!! Fans fire up as Ospreay aims again! Ospreay runs in, but Naito ducks the blade! CORRIENDO SHIKI DESTINO!!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Ospreay survives and no one can believe it!! Naito roars, drags Ospreay up, and tilt-o-whirls, DESTI- NO!! Ospreay slips out to HIDDEN BLADE!!! Cover, TWO?!?!?!? Maybe 2.999!! The fans can’t believe it, Khan can’t believe, commentary can’t believe it! But Ospreay drags Naito back up, reels him in and underhooks, for STORMBREAKER!!!! Cover, OSPREAY WINS!!!

Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)

After fighting back from an 0-2 start, after fighting his heart out here, Naito falls before the Climax! If this is truly Naito’s last G1 Climax, if this is truly his last year with NJPW, has it all ended here and now? Or can Naito find another path to Wrestle Kingdom?

As for Ospreay, he holds up his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship and Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship high as he stands over Naito, and then again as he stands on the corner. Khan waves the banner of the United Empire, then brings the mic to Ospreay. The fans applaud, but Ospreay says, “Louder, Budokan! Louder!! Motto! Gentlemen, I said MORE! I want more!” Fans applaud louder, and Ospreay is happy. “Naito, good showing. One more, onegaishimasu. This doesn’t get spoken about enough. In May, I nearly died! I had a kidney infection that nearly killed me! And in three months, three months! After saying I could’ve died, I’m in the G1 Final!”

Fans applaud that heart, and Ospreay says his opponent “is a man who seemingly, I can’t beat on my own. In the seven matches Ospreay and Okada have had, Okada has one SIX of them. SIX. Everyone is now doubting me, because they think I can’t beat Okada. I’ve seen it done with my own eyes! I have seen AJ Styles beat Okada. I have seen Tanahashi beat Okada. I’ve seen NAITO beat Okada! Hell, I’ve even see Jay White dethrone Okada. Know what makes me different? I know in my heart, I know I’m better than all those guys! I know I’m the best wrestler in the world today!!” Fans applaud that, he has a case for it.

Ospreay lists off his accomplishments: Best of the Super Juniors; the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship; the New Japan Cup; the British Heavyweight Championship; the NEVER Openweight Championship; the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship; and the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship!! There’s just one more to go! “And believe me. Believe me when I say this. Believe me, I’m not gonna lose. I will beat Okada! I will lead NJPW out of the Dark Ages, and I will bring it back tot he light! Okada, matta ashita <I’ll be waiting tomorrow.> See you at the top!” The Kingpin vows to go from Grand Slam to ULTIMATE Champion in NJPW, will he succeed?


My Thoughts:

A great event as the penultimate night of the G1 this year. Yes, I skipped a lot of matches, and I wish I had time to see that 8 Man with Tanahashi, Yano, Finlay & Kushida, because it saw the return of the Good Brothers to Japan. But Tanahashi’s team won thanks to some sneaky moves from Yano. I wonder if anyone from Tanahashi’s team will go after Karl Anderson’s NEVER Openweight Championship. Any one of them would be a great opponent for Anderson, but especially Tanahashi.

But we got awesome G1 matches, as to be expected. Tama has been running strong, but it sure seems like everyone knows how to counter the Gun Stun… It makes sense that Okada wins, he could potentially go back-to-back as the G1 Climax winner. But given that, I don’t think he will. Ospreay VS Naito was a great choice to be the main event between the two semifinal matches, and honestly I didn’t think Naito was going to lose. This is supposed to be his last year, so I thought he’d get to the finals before losing and having to worry about what’s next.

Ospreay has a great promo and he does make a great argument for winning the finals. Ospreay’s checked off almost everything to do in NJPW as a singles wrestler, even more than what Okada has done. Ospreay getting the honor of being the first to check everything off the list would be huge.

My Score: 9/10


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