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

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CURRENT TOUR RECAP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS

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

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

GHC BELT NEWS

Current champions

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

OTHER NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lets just end this newsletter here until next week.


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

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NJPW G1 Climax 28 cover

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

 

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

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

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

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

PLAY BY PLAY

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

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

 

Tetsuya Naito VS Zack Sabre Jr!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ibushi speaks.

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

 

Backstage interviews.

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

 


 

My Thoughts:

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

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

My Score: 8.9/10


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Joe’s Lucha Libre Weekly: News & Opinions

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CMLL

CMLL Anniversary

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

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

CMLL Friday Show/Future

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

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

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

AAA

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

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

AAA on Twitch 9/21

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

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

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