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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (2/6/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair VS Liv Morgan w/ The Riott Squad; Charlotte wins.
  • The Bludgeon Brothers VS jobbers; Bludgeon Brothers win.
  • WWE United States Championship: Bobby Roode VS Rusev; Roode wins and retains the WWE US Championship.
  • Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable VS The Ascension; Benjamin & Gable win.
  • WWE Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Kevin Owens VS Sami Zayn; thrown out due to interference, both Kevin & Sami and will face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Fastlane, in a Triple Threat.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown Commissioner, Shane McMahon, is already in the ring.

Shane O’Mac welcomes Kansas City to the show, and admits that he’s not so excited about tonight’s main event. The reason is that the stakes have “epic implications”, as it is to decide who faces AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. Shane personally feels neither Kevin nor Sami deserve another chance, but he respects the man who does, and that is SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan, who now makes his own entrance.

Kansas City greets Bryan with a “YES! YES!” ovation while he enters the ring. Bryan and Shane hear the cheers before Shane continues. SmackDown is the Land of Opportunity, and that’s what these two agreed to. They vowed to listen to the WWE Universe, and the WWE Universe determines a lot that goes on. It is then Shane’s and Bryan’s responsibility to fulfill those wants. However, Shane doesn’t think Bryan is listening. Fans chant “Rusev Day!” to make their own point. “Duly noted.” That said, Bryan keeps giving the same two superstars opportunities, but maybe the fans want someone else.

Bryan knows that Shane saw the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, there was a mistake made. Bryan is making a negative into a positive where two of Shane’s least favorites would “rip each other apart” for that opportunity. And honestly, Bryan expected a raise. Let’s not get carried away now, even though fans chant “YES!” Was that also duly noted? Shane counters, by admitting that he looks forward to Kevin & Sami ripping each other’s heads off, but what bothers Shane is the many second chances Bryan keeps giving them. It is difficult to understand why Bryan is constantly giving these opportunities to #Kami. Shane understands that what Bryan has done in the WWE changed the WWE forever. Fans agree to that with more “YES! YES!” And while there are similarities, #Kami is not Bryan. The “Yep Movement” is just a cheap imitation of Bryan’s greatest creation. Think about this, Bryan: do not allow #Kami to manipulate you.

Shane knows Bryan sympathizes, and that more than anything, Bryan would love to compete in the ring for himself. Fans also agree! Bryan speaks up: “What exactly is it that I’m doing?” Everyone sees it: Bryan is living vicariously through #Kami. Now AJ Styles appears!

The fans chants “AJ Styles!” and Styles speaks. In just 2018 alone, Styles has traveled thousands of miles defending his title. He’s been all over the world because that is what he does. Styles was put on this planet to be Phenomenal! And he can deal with bumps and bruises, he can deal with being away from home, “that’s part of the grind” that Styles was built for. But what Styles can’t stand is SmackDown management “obsessing” over #Kami. He doesn’t just mean Bryan, he also means Shane. Every decision about #Kami affects Styles. Styles doesn’t care because SmackDown is “The House that AJ Styles Built”, so just do him a favor: “Stay out of the way tonight.” The champion makes his own luck, and can keep his title to go on to Wrestlemania. The Phenomenal One leaves, message sent. Can management sort this all out and finally put their #KamiConspiracies to rest?

 

The New Day enjoys pancakes.

But they’re also answering questions from the WWE Universe on Twitter. “Do you think Corey Graves has a better jab or left hook?” They’re gonna see! The New Day is spending the night in the Social Media Lounge, just use #AskTheNewDay!

 

AJ Styles walks backstage but encounters Shinsuke Nakamura.

The King of Strong Style again says that he’s going to beat Styles at Wrestlemania. Can Styles hold on through Fastlane to take on another top tier threat to his title reign?

 

Charlotte Flair VS Liv Morgan w/ The Riott Squad!

The Queen of Flair and SmackDown Women’s Champion wants revenge on little Ms. #LivStrong for last week, but she should worry about the Squad being ringside. Is the champion’s pride getting the better of her this far out from Fastlane?

The bell rings and Charlotte goes right at Liv! She puts Liv in the corner and rams in her shoulders while the Squad freaks out. THe referee keeps Ruby and Sarah back, Charlotte stomps a mudhole into Liv. Liv falls out of the ring but Charlotte keeps on her on the outside while we go picture in picture.

Charlotte slaps Liv before putting her back in the ring, but again has to be wary of the Squad. Liv pounces but then Charlotte counters with a takedown. Charlotte drives Liv’s head into the mat again and again! She then drops a knee on Liv, then drags her up into a corner. Liv boots back, but runs into Charlotte’s lariat. Charlotte sees the Squad scramble to Liv’s side, and dares Liv to return. The Squad coaches Liv back up and in, but Charlotte gets a waistlock on Liv. Liv elbows out then whips but Charlotte reverses. Liv dodges and Charlotte hits buckles, but then CHarlotte elbows back. She puts Liv on the apron, but Ruby distracts. Liv takes advantage again, inverted hotshot! She covers, TWO, so Liv hammers away with forearms. Now Liv drives Charlotte’s head into the mat, before wrapping on a seated straitjacket stretch. Charlotte endures the bend, but Liv starts thrashing her around. Liv stays on top of Charlotte, mocking the “WOO~!” She slams Charlotte into the mat elbows first, then sits her up to drive a knee into her back. Charlotte continues to endure, then works her way back up to her feet. Liv grounds her again as we go back to single picture.

The fans boo and jeer while Liv trash talks and mocks the “WOO~” some more. She stalks Charlotte to the ropes and kicks her while she’s down. Liv puts Charlotte in a corner, then brings her to another for a buckle bump. Charlotte knees back and Liv goes down. Liv returns but Charlotte backs her off with chops! Liv falls down and the fans fire up with Charlotte. Charlotte scoops and throws Liv overhead! Then she boots Liv in the face!

Charlotte drags Liv into position then literally walks over her to climb up, but Liv yanks her down to the mat. Both women are down and the referee checks on them. The Squad coaches Liv back up, Liv gives Charlotte the jumping double stomps! Cover, TWO, and Liv grows frustrated. She returns to the straitjacket stretch, sitting right on Charlotte’s back. The fans rally, and Charlotte feeds off the energy. Charlotte lifts Liv up on her shoulders, but Liv rolls through, TWO! Liv swings but gets spun around into the neckbreaker, and the spear! Sarah distracts on the apron but gets tackled off to the floor!

Ruby drags Liv out to save her, and Charlotte gets pissed. However, the referee ejects The Squad! The Squad is furious, and now Liv is all alone! Charlotte fetches Liv back into the ring, Liv misses her enziguri, Charlotte boots her down again! And from there, Charlotte puts Liv in the Figure Four, and then the Figure Eight!

Liv endures, taps, Charlotte wins! The Queen stands tall tonight, can she hold on to her title all the way to Wrestlemania?

 

Backstage interview with Kevin Owens.

Will the outcome of his match with Sami Zayn affect their friendship? Wow, a great question for once. But she’s asking the wrong person. She should ask Sami and whether he can handle losing to Kevin.

 

The Bludgeon Brothers VS !

Harper & Rowan are back again, set on decimating whatever team is put before them. That sadly seems to be the fate of the two men put before them here, as Harper is upon the legal man the moment the bell rings. He stares down the tag partner as he pump-handle Fall Away Slams his prey! The tag partner hops off the apron, but Harper pursues, and Rowan blindsides him with a body check! Big Red carries “Little Red” up and around, and Harper stacks him and the partner in a corner. He tags in Rowan, slaps him to fire him up, and then whips him in for the corner splash sandwich! Full-nelson lift into the sit-out powerbomb!

And then the legal man gets the Bludgeon Bomb! The Bludgeon Brothers win! Is it only a matter of time until the challenge for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships?

The Usos appear!

Jimmy & Jey walk out with their SmackDown Tag Team titles in hand, and stare right at the Bludgeon Brothers, who stare back just as fiercely. Harper keeps Rowan from making a move, and they let the Usos move past them. Harper & Rowan leave while the Usos take the ring, we go to break.

SmackDown returns and the Usos speak. “So check this out.” They let everyone know what Day One Ish means. Now they’ll explain what #LockDown means. Not getting booked, not orange jumpsuits, not “assume the position” or sleeping on a slab. What the Usos mean is a state of mind. They turn their minds into a prison and run that prison. Lots of cats acting real hungry, but not for cupcakes, but for success. You eat when the Usos say you can eat! Lots of cats are thirsty, but not for lemonade, Kool-aid or the purple stuff, but the thirst for the spotlight. Take a sip from their Holy Grail, but they’ll split you like the Red Sea! Lots of cats sleeping on them, but not bedtimes and bunk beds, but about the Usos stepping up and turning it around. They went from face paint to snap backs! From rainbows to white and black. They went from tights to “all whites”, and from “they ‘aight” to “match of the night!” The Usos went from Samoan Drops to SUPERKICKS, from “Uce-SO Crazy” to “Day One Ish”! You sleep when the Usos say you can sleep! It’s not paranoia, it’s the UCE-O!! Jimmy & Jey are ready to keep those titles #OnLock, will anyone step up to the challenge?

 

Daniel Bryan brings us the premiere of the SmackDown Top 10 List.

This list was compiled by the SmackDown roster, and the management had no input whatsoever. Number 10 is of course Tye Dillinger. Number 9: Randy Orton! At number 8: Becky Lynch! At number 7: The Usos! Number 6: The New Day! Number 5: The GLORIOUS Bobby Roode! Fourth place: Naomi! Third place: Shinsuke Nakamura! Second place: Charlotte Flair! And THE Number One is… AJ STYLES! Who will make it onto the list next week? Who will move up? And what opportunities will some of these superstars get from it?

 

The New Day continue to “enjoy” pancakes…?

Xavier Woods has pancakes massaging his face, and something happened to Big E’s shirt. What other questions will be asked and answered before the night is over?

 

Team Rusev Day speaks.

The ring is covered in canvas because art happens in the ring. Aiden English will give us a musical piece of art, but Rusev “is a very different animal.” The Bulgarian Lion roars, and “Bob Roode” better prepare to lose that United States Championship. Rusev comes for his Magnum Opus, MACHKA!

“Please welcome the melodious voice of Aiden English!”

The Drama King has a sing along, to besmirch the good city of Kansas City. “But there’s no need to worry, there’s no need to fear~! For today is the single greatest day of this or any year~!” This is RUSEV DAYYYY~!

WWE United States Championship: Bobby Roode VS Rusev!

The Lion of Bulgaria wants to make his day a GLORIOUS one by defeating the GLORIOUS One! Can Rusev once again become US Champion this early into Roode’s reign?

The bell rings, and the two circle while fans chant “RUSEV DAY!” Rusev and Roode tie up, Rusev backs Roode into a corner. The ref calls for a break, and Rusev honors it cleanly in honor of Rusev Day. Roode and Rusev tie up again, and Roode turns it around to put Rusev in a corner. The break is again clean, and “GLORIOUS!” They circle again, then tie up, Rusev gets the waistlock. He slams Roode down and floats to a facelock. Roode rolls and reverses into a hammerlock. Rusev rolls and gets his waistlock back, but Roode spins around, Rusev snapmares and covers, TWO. Rusev keeps on Roode with another facelock, but Roode stands up. Roode reverses to an arm wrench and headlock, but Rusev powers out. Rusev runs Roode over with a shoulder, Roode gets himself to a corner. The fans cheer for “RUSEV DAY!” while the champion sorts himself out, we go to break.

SmackDown returns to find Roode fighting back out of a corner. He backs Rusev down and whips him corner to corner but is reversed. He still boots Rusev away, then hops up for a GLORIOUS Blockbuster! Cover, TWO! Roode keeps his cool, and drags Rusev up for more chops. Rusev reverses the whip again but Roode ducks, only to be caught and thrown in a Fall Away Slam! English and the fans rally for “Rusev Day! Rusev Day!” Roode gets to a corner, but Rusev is upon him with big right hands and stomps. Rusev has Roode on the ropes, then kicks him down with a stiff shot to the ribs. The Bulgarian Lion suplexes Roode, Roode clutches his back. Cover, TWO, so Rusev wraps Roode in a chinlock. The fans rally and Roode gets to his feet. However, Roode fades and Rusev sits him back down. The fans keep rallying, and Roode gets his second wind, so Rusev rams elbows into Roode’s shoulder and chest before putting the chinlock back on. The fans duel now, and Roode fires up again. Roode fights back with body shots then haymakers, rocking Rusev on his feet. Roode whips but Rusev reverses, yet Roode rallies with lariats! Rusev gets to a corner, Roode runs in for a corner clothesline and neckbreaker! Roode climbs up top and takes aim, big flying lariat! The fans are loud as Roode winds it up, but English distracts! Rusev gets Roode with a roundhouse!

He covers, TWO! Rusev Day is shocked while we go picture in picture.

Roode stirs while Rusev catches his breath. English watches in shocked frustration while Rusev gets to his feet. Rusev drags Roode up and to a corner to hoist him onto the top rope. A right hand rocks Roode, then another. Rusev positions Roode how he wants him before climbing up. Roode fights back with body shots and haymakers, then headbutts Rusev down, only for Rusev to come right back and rock him with a haymaker of his own. Rusev climbs up again, prepares and hits the SUPERPLEX! He crawls to a cover, TWO! The frustration grows as Rusev rests against ropes. English coaches Rusev back into the match while Roode stirs and we return to single picture.

Roode fights back with haymakers, Rusev knees low. Rusev whips Roode, but Roode sees the body drop coming. He wants his DDT but Rusev shoves him away, pop-up knee to the stomach! Rusev runs now, GLORIOUS Spinebuster! TWO! Now Roode can’t believe it, but he won’t slow down. English distracts again, but gets the right hand! Rusev surprises Roode with a roll-up, TWO! Roode boots Rusev, tornado denied, MACHKA KICK! Rusev himself is wobbly, but he has fire in his eyes as he sees Roode is down.

He stands up and fires himself up as the fans chant “RUSEV DAY!” The stomp, then the clutch, but Roode rolls, TWO! Rusev blocks the kick, rolls, TWO! Accolade countered with a snapmare, into the GLORIOUS DDT!! Roode wins and retains! It may have been by the skin of his teeth, but the GLORIOUS One keeps hold of the US Championship, even on Rusev Day!

But RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!!

The Viper strikes again, and fans are going berserk! English tries to shield Rusev, then tries to run away, but even he gets an RKO! Orton feeds off the chaotic energy, and sees Rusev standing up… RKO!! Does Orton want a shot at the US Championship?

 

Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin speak.

They’re in Fashion Police HQ, and point out “Exhibit A: Buffoons in costumes”, and “Exhibit B: Clowns solving made-up mysteries.” These two are here to bring back “prestige” to the SmackDown Tag Team Division. The only mystery here is “How are these guys still in our division?” These teams may have jokes but Gable & Benjamin have punchlines! They took out Breezango, now they’re after The Ascension. These #WeaponsofTagDestruction go after the Wasteland!

 

Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable VS The Ascension!

After being denied the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at the Royal Rumble, Benjamin & Gable have made it their mission to make the division serious again. They’ve already dealt with the Fashion Police, can they now put away Breezango’s “best friends”?

The match start with Benjamin and Konnor, the two circling before getting in each other’s face. Benjamin hits Konnor with forearms but Konnor doesn’t budge. Konnor hits back then whips back, running Benjamin over with a back elbow. Konnor runs but misses the elbow drop. He blocks the kick but Benjamin comes back around with the dragon whip! Benjamin keeps on Konnor but then gets run down again. Gable hops off the apron to keep from being a target. Konnor runs at Benjamin but Benjamin dodges, Konnor’s leg gets stuck on the top rope off the missed boot. Benjamin goes after him with hands, the referee backs him down but Gable pounces in the distraction by giving that stuck leg a hotshot! Konnor hobbles, Benjamin rock shim with the step-up knee! Cover, TWO, Benjamin tags in Gable. They bring Konnor up for double knees, kicks, and double chop blocks! Gable goes after the wounded legs with the knee-wrenching toehold. He keeps Konnor grounded and yanks on the leg more, covers, ONE. Gable trips Konnor up again and wraps the legs into another toehold. Konnor endures while Viktor coaches him on. Gable stomps the leg, then trash talks Viktor. However, Konnor springs up to flapjack Gable down! The two crawl, Konnor tags in Viktor! Viktor rallies hard on Gable & Benjamin, chopping away on Gable. He whips Gable corner to corner then hits a big running uppercut. Gable dodges the second attack but Viktor hits a flying knee, Benjamin breaks the cover. Konnor returns to rock Benjamin with right hands, but Benjamin counters into a spinebuster! Viktor returns to throw Benjamin out, but Gable pounces with the waistlock. He rolls Viktor as Benjamin tags in for the rolling German Suplex! Then they finish Viktor with Doomsday!

Benjamin & Gable win! With these two cutting out the jokes, will they become a serious threat in the SmackDown Tag Team Division?

 

The New Day continue answering questions.

“Who does The New Day think will win tonight?” Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn? Who cares! It’s not any of them, maybe #Kami can both lose. Yeah, they can fight forever. In traffic! “If you guys ranked 6th, who do you think would rank highest if you were just individuals?” The three of them are all great, but it has to be the smartest. No, it would be the strongest. AKA Kofi! Four time IC Champion, seven time Tag Team Champion, three time US Champion,and in 2018, the W! W! E, World Heavyweight CHAMPION~! Which then makes all three New Day members champion! If Kofi had one vote, he’d break it in half to give half each to Woods and E! They return to eating pancakes, but keep asking them questions!

 

Backstage interview with Sami Zayn.

Any last comments before the main event? Sami feels tonight is his opportunity to step out of Kevin’s shadow. Kevin’s won all the titles, but that’s fine because they’re best friends. But even as friends they’ve fought each other more than anyone. Sami knows what Kevin is capable of and that Kevin will stop at nothing to win. But neither will Sami. This match of world championship proportions is about to begin!

WWE Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Kevin Owens VS Sami Zayn!

The Underdog and the Prizefighter fight for the right to challenge the champ, and the champ even comes out to be on commentary. Styles doesn’t mind which man wins, he’ll be happy to beat the crap out of either of them.

The bell rings, the two friends circle and tie up. Kevin powers Sami to ropes, then honors the break. They go again, Kevin puts Sami on the ropes but Sami turns it around. The break is clean again, and they go again. Kevin gets the waistlock, Sami pries out but Kevin rolls to trip Sami. Kevin floats to the facelock, Sami stands up and they spin around. Sami grabs ropes, Kevin honors the breka but gives a stiff shove. Sami laughs it off, and the two circle again. Kevin gets a headlock, Sami powers out but Kevin runs him over with a shoulder. They speed up, Sami arm-drags Kevin, then spins around to another arm-drag and armlock. Sami wrenches Kevin’s arm but Kevin stands up, Kevin gets to ropes. The break is honored but with a bit of a pie-face from Sami. Kevin shrugs that off, and they tie up again. Kevin gets the waistlock, Sami the standing switch, Kevin’s elbow is very sharp. Sami trips up Kevin and fires off hands! Kevin bails out of the ring, Sami dares him to get back in. The fans jeer and cheer, Kevin doesn’t want to hear it. Sami waits for Kevin but Kevin says Sami should “calm down.”

He gets back in, Sami gets him again! Kevin bails out a second time then comes back up in frustration, only fro Sami to rock him right down! Styles likes what he sees while we go to break.

SmackDown returns again, and both men are slowly rising to their feet. Kevin chops Sami in the corner, then chops again, but Sami fights back with haymakers. Kevin knees low, but Sami springboards up and over to boot Kevin, only for Kevin to boot back. Sami boots back, Kevin clobbers him with a lariat! Both men go down and the fans applaud. Styles also likes what he sees as both men slowly stir. They get up and brawl again with haymakers and chops. Kevin backs Sami down, whips but Sami kicks Kevin away. Sami kicks but Kevin flips him to enziguri him! Then, Fisherman Neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Kevin can’t believe it, but Styles likes to hate them. Sami gets to a corner, Kevin takes aim from the other, then runs in for the cannon- Sami catches Kevin but Kevin fights back. Kevin swings but Sami chops, to then acrobatically tornado DDT Kevin down!

TWO! Sami can’t believe it now. He stalks Kevin to the corner then stands him up. Sami tries to lift Kevin but Kevin clubs him down. Sami fires back and gets Kevin up to the top rope. He rocks Kevin with a right before climbing up, then prepares the superplex. Kevin resists, then fights back with body shots and an elbow. Sami falls, Kevin adjusts, SWANTON hits knees! Kevin writhes and rolls but so does Sami. They’re both on the outside now, Sami sees Kevin and gets a running start… Daredevil DDT! The fans are loud for both men while Sami struggles to stand up. “This is Awesome!” Sami puts Kevin in the ring and takes aim from the corner. He runs into a SUPERKICK! Kevin hurries to the top rope, he wants it this time… FROG SPLASH! TWO, and Kevin is shocked. Sami sits up, and the two “friends” glare at each other. Kevin pushes Sami, the fans want them to “Fight Forever!” He tells Sami to stay down, but Sami slaps him! Kevin throws Sami to the ropes, pop-up evaded, Half ‘n’ Half then the Blue Thunder Bomb! TWO!! And Sami cannot believe it. Kevin rolls away to the apron, then falls to the floor. Sami pursues while Kevin makes his way to the announce table. He drags Kevin over then asks Styles if he sees what he’s doing to Kevin. Styles does, and he wants Sami to finish him. Sami keeps talking trash, getting in Styles face, Styles shoves him away.

Then Styles starts swinging on them both! The match is thrown out, and Styles goes after Sami in the ring. He stomps Sami, but then Kevin returns, so Styles rocks him with a right hand. Styles doesn’t regret what he’s done, he just slingshots onto them both! He shouts that he “wanted somebody”, but Daniel Bryan returns to make an announcement. Given this “superlative performance of both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and due to the outside interference of AJ Styles”, Bryan says both Kevin & Sami will face Styles at Fastlane in a Triple Threat!! Kevin & Sami are happy with that, but Styles says this is the same thing all over again. Will this decision stand? Can Styles keep his cool and his title through to Wrestlemania?

 

My Thoughts:

A solid episode of SmackDown here tonight, though nothing too particularly spectacular. The tension between SmackDown management continues to grow, but the only real improvement is that Styles calls them both out for taking this #Kami/#YepMovement thing too far. Styles is still stuck as the proxy for Shane and Bryan to fight out their differences of opinion, and while it hasn’t exactly grown stale it isn’t that exciting right now, either. The match of Sami VS Kevin was still great, up until the almost obvious ending of disqualification. Bryan “logically” chooses to put Sami & Kevin both in the championship match, which would probably go down easier if it was two Faces and one Heel. However, with #Kami as Heels and Styles as the Face, it just seems awkward that this has kept going. Perhaps that’s the point, given Styles’ stated opinion on the matter; we are meant to feel as frustrated and unsure as he is, and in the end hope he comes out on top to keep the Dream Match alive.

The rest of the night was still pretty good. Charlotte puts on a great match against Liv and stands tall to A) Keep Carmella from trying another cash-in attempt and B) establish that she wants to defeat The Riott Squad single-handed. Like Alexa Bliss and the Raw Women’s Championship, Charlotte still has one last PPV to defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship, but there’s no signature match-type to just plug-and-play them into. I would hope Charlotte doesn’t end up against multiple members of the Riott Squad. Perhaps they’ll ban whichever two aren’t in the match from ringside so Charlotte can have a fair shot. The SmackDown Tag Team Division clearly wants Usos VS Bludgeon Brothers without either side directly saying so. Harper & Rowan deal with jobbers again while The Usos give us another fiery promo. Their match will be very physical and a likely Match of the Night, but after this, SmackDown is going to need some new teams to arrive to freshen things up. Maybe the Authors of Pain can come over here instead of over to Raw for that purpose. The US Championship is going really strong, given the great match between Rusev & Roode, and then HOLY CRAP Orton. Orton VS Roode will make for a fun match, but don’t count Rusev (Day) out of the hunt just yet. They and a few others might get a part in a US Championship match at Fastlane, such as Ziggler and Corbin who are having a match next week, and Tye Dillinger who rightfully appears on the SmackDown Top 10. Giving the US Championship a huge match at Fastlane would mean a lot for the title and for Roode as its defending champion.

My Score: 8/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (2/10/18)

Published

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ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 334

All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas w/ Silas Young VS Team Coast 2 Coast; no contest.
  • Six Man Tag: Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS Kenny King & Coast 2 Coast; King & C2C win.
  • First WOH Championship Tournament Opening Round match: Madison Rayne VS Mandy Leon; Mandy wins and advances to the second round.
  • ROH World Heavyweight Championship: Dalton Castle w/ The Boys VS Punishment Martinez; Castle wins and retains the ROH WHC.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dalton Castle speaks.

The Peacock and ROH WHC is “always ready, always limber and never surprised.” He can go left, he can go right– Wait were both Boys here this whole time? “Not much can surprise me.” And that is why the second the ROH WHC became his, Castle knew that he was “instantly the biggest target in ROH.” So when someone like Punishment Martinez attacked from behind, Castle wasn’t surprised. “Who can blame him? I would do the same thing, if I was a big lummox with eye-liner.” Castle would try for any advantage possible, “especially if I had to fight me.” Martinez clearly understands this isn’t the same Peacock from before, he’s “gonna be looking face to face with a champion!” Castle is “a man willing to fight to protect what he’s earned!” Castle is a man “with no other plan than to come out swinging, and do everything he can to insure that he leaves Nashville still your world champion!” The Peacock is brimming with confidence, can he keep the Reincarnation of the Purple Mist at bay?

 

The Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas w/ Silas Young VS Team Coast 2 Coast!

The Last Real Man and World Television Champion accompanies the newest and literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division as they make their in-ring debut. However, they go up against a team that not only went #DoOrDie against another big team in War Machine, but Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni beat Hanson & Rowe to stay together! Can the Kingpin and the Keg Master crush C2C like a couple of beer cans? Or will Ali & LSG ride the wave all the way to the top?

No Code of Honor given because Milonas & Bruiser go right at them with cheap shots! The bell rings but everyone’s still in as Bruiser puts Ali in a corner and Milonas brings LSG to another. The big hoss boys coordinate and go corner to corner, but run into boots from C2C. C2C hops up, they both jump, but they both get caught! Milonas & Bruiser sandwich Ali & LSG before throwing Ali away and bumping LSG of a buckle with Snake Eyes. LSG staggers back into Milonas’s tackle, then Bruiser gives a hollering elbow drop!

Cover, TWO, and Bruiser is already annoyed. Silas protests the count but Bruiser brings LSG over to his corner for a haymaker. Milonas tags in, and turns around to ram his king-sized backside into LSG over and over! Silas taunts LSG, “How did that feel, boy?” Bruiser tags in, he drags LSG up and scoops him. LSG slips out and dropkicks Bruiser into Milonas! Hot tag to Ali, and Ali rallies on the big men with forearms and headbutts! Bruiser gets a kick in and Ali staggers into Milonas, but Ali ducks to let Bruiser’s haymaker hit Milonas. Milonas goes down and Silas freaks out, but LSG comes in and together, hit Bruiser with the Half Nelson Complete Shot!

Cover, TWO! Ali keeps his focus on Bruiser and brings him up, but Bruiser fights back with back elbows. Bruiser shoves Ali to a corner then runs in, but Ali evades to retaliate with a swing kick. Ali snapmares Bruiser and prepares a kick, but Silas grabs his foot! Ali is anchored in place as Milonas runs in for a corner splash! Milonas backs off while Ali slips out, but the referee is busy keeping the protesting LSG in and Silas gets away with cheap shots. However, Kenny King comes in to even the numbers!

Silas slips into the ring and now it’s a chaotic brawl! The referee can’t do a thing, so he throws out the match! Silas and his bruiser buddies get out of the ring, leaving it to C2C and the K I N G. We go to break so ROH can sort this out.

 

Six Man Tag: Silas Young, Beer City Bruiser & Brian Milonas VS Kenny King & Coast 2 Coast!

We can tell how this match came about. The current ROH WTVC, Silas, and former champion, King, start for their teams. The bell rings, and King takes the fight right to Silas! But then their teammates come in and we have another six man brawl! Milonas throws LSG out but King slips behind and rocks him with the spinning roundhouse! Bruiser keeps Ali back while Milonas rolls out of the ring. King sees his target and fires up the fans before hitting Milonas with the slingshot corkscrew!

King topples Milonas down and takes his time to celebrate, but he turns around into Bruiser’s cannonball!

Bruiser gets up but C2C regroups! LSG fakes Bruiser and Milonas out, it’s Ali that FLIES!

The fans fire up but Silas hits LSG with the springboard lariat! Silas takes aim at everyone on the outside and fires himself up, then builds speed, but tumbles to the apron when he sees no one there. He boots King in the face from the apron, then catches Ali into a yurinagi on the apron!

King returns but gets rocked with a haymaker, Silas returns to the apron to slingshot double stomp Ail. Silas dares someone to come back in, but he doesn’t see LSG behind him. He turns around and gets LSG’s boot right to his face! LSG throws Silas out onto everyone, then starts climbing up top. However, Milonas returns and stops him halfway, then Bruiser also returns. Milonas drags LSG out and holds him up, Bruiser dropkick-starts the swinging sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Everyone returns to their corners as Milonas brings LSG back up. He tags Silas, Silas kicks LSG in the ribs. Silas takes off his shirt and throws it at LSG, LSG throws it back. Silas dares LSG to “hit me like a man!” So LSG slaps him across the face! Silas comes back and LSG hits him again with a forearm, so Silas hits LSG back with a forearm. They go back and forth with forearms, but Silas gets the edge and rocks LSG to his knees. “That’s how a man gets it done!” He brings LSG back up but LSG breaks free to swing on him. Silas suplexes but LSG slips out to tag Ali. Silas swings but misses LSG, who then springboards and forearms Silas down. Ali then grabs Silas for the big Complete Shot!

Cover, TWO! Ali drags Silas up and tags King. King and Silas brawl, King getting the edge. King whips and knocks Silas down with the spinning heel kick. He stalks Silas to ropes as the fans rally. Silas hides behind the ropes, but Bruiser comes in with a cheap shot clothesline on King. Milonas also comes in, and the three “real men” surround King. C2C protest and the ref tries to back them off, but Silas still rocks King with a knee right to the face. Then Bruiser and Milonas run in to sandwich King between their beer bellies!

C2C come in but get rocked by rights, then go at King again to squash him between their beer buttocks! Silas covers, TWO!! Kenny rolls away while C2C stands up. C2C baits Bruiser & Milonas, to dump them out! Silas gets up, he and Ali run at each other for a big double clothesline. Ali, Silas and King are all down, but LSG sees Milonas and Bruiser getting to their feet. The Human Rocket climbs up, takes aim, and hits the springboard Phoenix senton!

LSG takes Milonas & Bruiser down and the fans fire up! Silas brawls with Ali from the mat to their feet, back and forth like mad. Silas gets the edge because “You ain’t nothing, boy!” He runs, but into C2C’s double hip toss cradle, and King returns to make it Tu Lo ROYAL FLUSH!

King and C2C win! A big victory for all, can King make the Last Real Man #BendTheKnee in their ROH WTVC rematch?

 

The Dawgs are watching backstage.

Big Rhett asks if Lil’ Willie can see what’s going on, but clearly he can’t. Will Ferrara can’t stand that those two “dingle berries” Ali & LSG are getting the reaction they are. Rhett Titus tells him to calm down. Rhett’s been around ROH long enough, he’s “seen them come and seen them go.” Well right now, they’re here. Ferrara mocks the “Rocket Man, Rocket Man”, Tu Lo Sabes “You Know It”. He wants to “send them packing”! Titus agrees, C2C is gonna be sent packing, “courtesy of The Dawgs!” “Knick Knack Paddy Whack, give these dogs a BEER!” A lot of bark from Rhett & Ferrara, will their bite match up to it?

 

The ROH Women of Honor Tournament has its bracket!

Mandy Leon and Madison Rayne each speak on their paths to this historic tournament. The Exotic Goddess is a product of the ROH Dojo. She trained for five long years, and was a pioneer in creating this premier Women’s Division within ROH. Meanwhile, the Queen Bee knows that Women’s Wrestling around the world is bigger than it’s ever been. Women’s Wrestling is at the forefront of the industry, and now that WOH has firmly established itself, Mandy wants to fulfill a dream of becoming the inaugural WOH Champion. Madison knows that this 16-woman invitational is truly “history making”, and even humbling to be selected. Mandy won’t anyone in the field of 16 stand in her way, while Madison’s 10 year career validates her as a serious competitor.

Mandy will acknowledge Madison as a “world-class talent”, and knows Madison’s been a champion everywhere she’s gone, “but you haven’t been here.” The Exotic Goddess was a WOH “day one” wrestler. Being champion here is all Mandy has ever wanted. Madison knows all that, and gives Mandy “tremendous credit”, but Mandy seems to have forgotten Madison was already here years ago. Even though there was no WOH Division, ROH had women wrestlers, so it was Madison who laid the foundation. Madison wins titles, makes history, and belongs at the top. Mandy still declares that she will be the first WOH Champion. Can the Exotic Goddess’ dream survive the Queen Bee’s drive?

 

Deonna Purrazzo joins commentary for this next match.

The Virtuosa is another of the 16 women from around the world entering this historic tournament, so she has vested interest in the results. At the same time, she and Mandy were the two women in the first official WOH Division match, so perhaps she wants to cheer on her fellow pioneer so they can meet next round.

 

First WOH Championship Tournament Opening Round match: Madison Rayne VS Mandy Leon!

History begins here! Sixteen women will be whittled down to eight, who will be the first moving on and the first going home?

The Code of Honor is upheld and the two go to their corners as the bell rings. The fans already applaud this great match-up and build to a rally. Madison and Mandy circle then tie up. Mandy backs Madison into a corner, then honors the break. She and Madison tie up again, now Madison backs Mandy down. Madison also honors the break, and they go again. Madison gets the headlock, shifts to a hammerlock then back to the headlock. Mandy fights out and gets a headlock of her own. Madison powers out but Mandy knocks her down. Mandy poses then runs, rolls over but Madison rolls under to arm-drag Mandy down. Madison gets up but runs into Mandy’s arm-drag. The two back off and the fans applaud the back and forth. Mandy and Madison circle and the fans rally for them again. Madison lunges but Mandy slips behind to get a hammerlock, then slips back to the front for a snapmaer. Mandy starts running and hits Madison with a kick then comes back the other side for the neck snap.

Cover, TWO, but Mandy keeps going. Madison sweeps her legs, though, and covers, TWO. Madison uses a leg sweep to roll Mandy into a cover, TWO. They both stand up, Madison whips Mandy to the ropes, but now Mandy rolls Madion up on the return, TWO. Mandy keeps moving but Madision follows to SPEAR!

Mandy’s back up, so Madison knocks her down with a sharp enziguri! The Queen Bee has control while we go to break.

ROH returns and Madison keeps control as she hits Mandy with a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows within the five-time Impact Knockouts champion. They get up, Madison kicks Mandy then runs but misses the second. Mandy swings but Madison ducks and they both run for double facebusters! Both women are down and a ten count begins. They stir at 2, and get to opposite corners. They crawl to each other and then brawl on their knees. The brawl moves to their feet as Mandy headbutts and Madison replies with a forearm. Mandy replies with her own forearm, then catches Madison’s return with the downward spiral, into the Koji Clutch!

Madison endures and drags herself forward, then gets the ropebreak with her foot. Mandy lets go and Madison rolls out, but Mandy pursues. Mandy takes aim at Madison from the apron, and runs in for the Penalty Kick! But she’s not done there, Mandy runs back in for the cannonball!

The Exotic Goddess topples the Queen as the fans fire up. Mandy puts Madison back in the ring then rallies the fans as she climbs up top. Madison stands up, Mandy drops her with the missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Mandy’s own frustration grows, and she calls for the end. She grabs Madison for an underhook but Madison slips behind her, wristlock spin-out for the Rayne Check cutter!

Cover, TWO!? Madison can’t believe Mandy survived her signature move. She drags Mandy up, Mandy surprises her with an inside cradle, TWO. Madison hits Mandy with a forearm smash, then picks Mandy up for a Fisherman drop!

Cover, TWO!! Frustration boils over for Mandy, but the fans cheer for Mandy. Madison climbs up top while Mandy gets to her feet. Madison leaps, but Mandy gets clear out of the way of the flying crossbody. Mandy comes back and picks Madison up in the pumphandle package driver, Astral Projection!

Mandy wins! Her dream lives on with this possible bracket buster!

As for Madison Rayne…

Mandy turns to her opponent and the two shake hands and even hug. Madison raises Mandy’s hand in victory. Can the Exotic Goddess continue through to the end and become the one true Queen of Honor?

 

ROH has exclusive footage after Episode 333 went off air.

The American Nightmare finds The Young Bucks backstage. He’s upset, and demands to know where they were. They apologize for running late. Why were they running late? Was their flight coming in from Winnipeg? Is it “a Kenny thing”? Because the Bullet Club doesn’t need anymore “Kenny things” right now! “That’s over, that’s done with!” The fans were literally chanting for the Young Bucks out there while Cody was getting his ass kicked by The Kingdom! He points out his black eye and busted hand with no Ring of Honor. Matt Jackson apologizes again, they just arrived. Cody accepts that. “All I’m saying is, everybody wants us to break up.” The Bullet Club breaking up is good for everybody else, but he won’t allow that. Cody expects better from everyone, especially the Bucks. The Bucks scratch their heads and roll their eyes as Cody leaves, but then Marty comes in with a “sweet Marty Scurll sign.”

“Now’s not the time, man.” They don’t like it? No, they didn’t even spell his name right. Misspelling aside, is the Bullet Club just one wrong move away from breaking up?

 

The Briscoes speak.

Specifically, they speak to the Motor City Machine Guns. “Lemme explain something to y’all boys.” Jay & Mark have reached that point in their careers where they “don’t care about our opponents’ well being.” The Briscoes “don’t care if the people cheer for us.” All the Briscoes care about, “is making statements.” Mark agrees, because there’s “one statement in particular” they want to make: that they are “the baddest tag team to ever walk this planet!” Jay & Mark don’t care if they break bones, cripple opponents and make them get carted to the back. They don’t even care if you live or die. It’s nothing personal against MCMG, it’s personal against everyone. The Briscoes are on a war path, but the MCMG just happen to be the ROH World Tag Team Champions. Jay & Mark think of those as their property, so they’re coming to take them back. When it’s Sandy Fork VS Everybody, can anyone hope to survive #DemBoys?

 

Marty Scurll joins commentary.

While there is much to discuss about The Bullet Club, The Villain is here to focus on tonight’s main event. For it was last week that Scurll struck a deal with the challenger: if Martinez becomes the new ROH World Heavyweight Champion, he would allow Scurll the first shot at him.

 

ROH World Heavyweight Championship: Dalton Castle w/ The Boys VS Punishment Martinez!

The Reincarnation of the Purple Mist earned this chance at the ROH world title when he won Survival of the Fittest 2017. And when he came to tell The Peacock of his challenge, he did it with actions in the form of a sneak attack. Castle granted his challenge and thus we have this highly anticipated main event on ROH TV! Will the monster come away with the gold to then take on The Villain? Or will the Peacock reign supreme to roll on towards Honor Rising 2018?

Scurll rants about how he is “disgusted” with Castle being so full of himself, and even says Castle doesn’t deserve to be champion. However, that may only be because Castle defeated Cody, who is Scurll’s good friend within Bullet Club.

The fans chant “Fan up!” even before the bell. Castle offers the Code of Honor handshake, but Martinez shakes his head “No”. That’s fine by Castle, he fires himself and the fans up. Scurll rants and complains about the fact both Castle and Martinez received WHC title matches before him while Boy 2 gives Castle a certain something. Castle tells Martinez, “This is for you.” When Castle opens his hands, there’s nothing there, but a slap across Martinez’s face! Martinez grabs Castle and powers him back to a corner, then swings only for Castle to duck under and hit him back with a right hand. Castle chops, haymaker, chops and haymaker again, but Martinez shoves him back. Martinez swings but misses again, Castle goes for the waistlock but Martinez throws him right off. Martinez grabs Castle around the throat but Castle breaks free, to slap Martinez again. The monster gets mad, and glares at Castle as he chases him down, but Castle dumps Martinez out over the top rope. Martinez stays on his feet but Castle quickly builds speed and DIVES!

Castle sends Martinez rolling whiel the fans fire up and the Boys fan up. Martinez gets up quickly but Castle is right on him. Castle knocks him into the barriers along the walkway, then off the apron edge. The fans fire up for Castle, and he snaps his fingers. The Boys become steps, and Castle uses them to LEAP at Martinez!

But Martinez catches him! He goes to lift but Castle slips out and then shoves Martinez into a post! Martinez bounces off but manages to get back in the ring. The champion has control while we go to break.

ROH returns to see Castle grab Martinez in a waistlock. Martinez powers Castle back into a ring, which breaks the hold, but Castle reels him back into a new waistlock. They go backward again, and Martinez adds a back elbow to keep Castle back. Martinez runs back in but Castle boots him away. Castle hops up, but Martinez hits him with a spinning roundhouse! Castle topples down from the top rope and to the ground. Scurll laughs at The Peacock, even as The Boys “Fan up!” Martinez slips to the outside to fetch Castle, but as Martinez puts Castle in the ring, he swings around for headscissors. Martinez blocks the rest of the swing so Castle unleashes right hands. It’s not enough, though, as Martinez uses even more power to lift and Last Ride powerbomb Castle on the apron!

Scurll starts to reconsider his deal with the monster as he watches Castle writhe in pain. Martinez grins while the fans boo and jeer. Scurll critiques Martinez’s lack of urgency, even as Martinez rocks Castle with a right hand. The 20-count reaches 8 before Martinez puts Castle back in the ring. He toys with Castle as he stalks him to a corner. The fans cheer for Castle, even as Martinez whips him corner to corner hard. The Boys hurry to fan their leader before Martinez drags him back up. Martinez scoops Castle to then slam him down, to then hit a springboard senton!

Cover, TWO! Scurll complains that people should want him to be champion while Castle rolls out of the ring. The Boys fan him again, but Martinez comes out to scare them off. Castle pounces! He goes at Martinez with fire and fury, but Martinez snuffs it out with another right hand. Martinez waits for Castle to stagger back over before knocking him down with a SUPERKICK!

Martinez drags Castle up again, to then whip him hard into barriers. The fans boo and jeer again, but Martinez ignores them as he drags Castle up again. He goes to throw Castle but Castle gets loose. Castle hurries to get back in the ring, but he can’t get away, Martinez drags him out to throw him back into barriers. The referee comes out to get them to put this back in the ring, and Martinez obliges. He covers, TWO, but Martinez keeps hold of Castle while the fans start to rally. Martinez turns Castle around to put him in a chinlock while we go to break.

ROH returns once more, to find Martinez now on the defensive. Castle slinks back into the ring and grabs the dazed monster in a waistlock. Martinez elbows him away, then takes aim at Castle in a corner. He runs corner to corner and jumps for the big back elbow, but Castle catches him in the waistlock! Castle uses his super strength to carry Martinez out to the center, and hits the German Suplex pin! TWO! Even the Boys are feeling a bit of the exasperation. But Martinez suddenly sits up and grabs Castle by the throat! Castle fights against it and hammers Martinez to the mat. Scurll protests but the referee can’t hear him from all the way at the announce desk. Castle grabs Martinez in another waistlock and drags him up. Martinez powers out, then swings kick after kick and forearm, but Castle dodges them all to get another German Suplex! But Martinez springs right up again! He wobbles around, Castle catches him for an overhead suplex. Castle stands up while the Boys “Fan Up!” Martinez also rises, Castle runs in, but into Martinez’s clobbering right hand. Martinez drags Castle up, suplex for the Falcon Arrow!

Cover, TWO! The monster keeps his cool while the fans build back to a rally. Martinez drags Castle up while the fans chant, and prepares another powerbomb. Castle resists, goes to lift Martinez, but Martinez clubs him down. So Castle instead powers Martinez back into a corner! They separate, Castle runs in but into Martinez’s driving boot. Martinez walks it off while Castle slips out of the ring. The Boys “Fan Up!’ again, but Martinez spots them all gathered. He runs corner to corner to FLY!

He wipes out Castle and the Boys, then gets right up to put Castle back in the ring. Martinez climbs up and leaps for the spinning heel kick! TWO!! Martinez is shocked, and Scurll thought that was the end. The fans continue to cheer while Castle slowly stirs. Martinez goes to drag him up but Castle is out of it. He waits for Castle to rise, brings him up the rest of the way and gets the choke grip. Castle pries the hold off, but Martinez puts it back on, only for Castle to break it again, and rock Martinez with a back elbow. Martinez rocks Castle right back with a roundhouse, and Castle falls down in a heap while Scurll laughs again. That’s not all, Martinez brings Castle up for a rip-cord roundhouse! Castle drops to the mat again, eyes glazed over. Martinez drags him up a third time, and lifts him into a torture rack position. Castle revives to fight his way out, then rolls Martinez into a small package! Castle wins!! Martinez’s face shows shock and anger at being beat by only a split second.

He takes his frustrations out on a buckle pad, but that isn’t enough. Martinez goes after The Boys! He wipes Boy 2 out, then gives Boy 1 a choke slam onto the apron!

Martinez goes back for Boy 2, and powerbombs him onto his twin!

The fans boo and jeer as Martinez makes his exit. Scurll himself is also shocked, but the damage is done to The Boys. Will Martinez find his way back to a title shot? Will Castle’s Boys be okay to accompany him to Honor Rising?

 

My Thoughts:

A really great episode here, all in all. ROH put an interesting yet logical and entertaining twist on the opening tag team match. Kenny King helping Coast 2 Coast out against Silas’ trio was great given the story building between them for the ROH World TV Championship, and the Six Man was also really solid. Both teams looked great together, especially Milonas & Bruiser already working out some double-team moves. C2C continuing a feud with Bruiser & Milonas would be good for both teams, to help sort out who goes for ROH World Tag Team Championships first. Briscoes VS MCMG still has to happen, and #DemBoys had another great promo, but I’m going to assume the Faces VS Heels dynamic will be kept in the following program. In other words, Briscoes VS C2C and MCMG VS Bruiser & Milonas. The ROH World Six Man titles are also in question, as SoCal Uncensored already gets a shot against The Bullet Club’s Hung Bucks next episode. ROH is doing a great job integrating the building Bullet Club Civil War, so I’d imagine the only reason SCU wins is because of dysfunction on Bullet Club’s part rather than beating them cleanly.

There was a lot of anticipation for this ROH WOH Championship tournament, and I feel bad for saying this, but this opening match wasn’t as good as it could’ve or should’ve been. I’ve always liked Mandy Leon’s ROH run, and Madison Rayne has the résumé to be here, but there was a lot that could’ve/should’ve been more polished. I swear I saw Mandy let up on a pin half a beat too early for Madison’s “kick out.” Their promos were great, but being pre-taped probably means they were able to rehearse them to be on point. Logically, Mandy wins because she is, as her promo said, the pioneer of ROH’s official WOH and it will mean more if she lasts all the way to the end. The bracket is also set up so that she could end up facing either her old friend Jenny Rose, or WOH’s newest addition in Tenille Dashwood, for some real good story behind the match. But WOH match aside, the ROH WHC made up for it because it was some great stuff. Castle-Martinez were great in the ring and Scurll was great on commentary, but I had a feeling Castle would still win. Castle is too big a star to lose his first defense ever, even if it was against another rising star like Martinez.

My Score: 8/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE NXT Report! (2/14/18)

Published

on

All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne VS Roderick Strong; Dunne wins and retains the WWE UK Championship.
  • TM61 VS John Skyler & Andrew Duckworth; TM61 wins.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler; Shayna wins by disqualification, Ember retains the NXT Women’s Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne VS Roderick Strong!

No need to wait, this highly anticipated crossover match starts NXT off! Can the British Bruiserweight hold on to his title when faced with the American Savior of the Backbreaker?

The bell rings and they tie up right away! Dunne powers Strong to ropes while the fans duel. Strong and Dunne spin around and end up in a corner, the ref calling for a break. The break is anything but clean, but the two cool off to circle again. Strong keeps Dunne from getting too close to ropes before they tie up again. They end up in another corner but then come right out. Dunne gets the armbar takedown but Strong gets right up to attempt a high stack cover, ONE, but Strong transitions into an attempt at his signature hold. Dunne resists and rolls to flip Strong, but both men are right back up on their feet. The fans applaud this evenly matched match while we go to break.

NXT returns to find Dunne in control of Strong. He brings Strong up and goes after the fingers. Dunne brings Strong’s arm down to the mat and bends it back, before kicking it!

Strong rolls out of the ring to give himself time but Dunne is right on him. Dunne bends that arm and teh fingers all over again, then brings them to the steel steps. He bends Strong’s arm again, then stomps on it!

The Bruiserweight is merciless as he stalks Strong around the corner. He grabs that arm again to bend it from wrist to elbow as he leads Strong all the way to the other steel steps. Dunne wedges Strong’s hand inside the gap between steps and post, then clubs the arm to twist it! The ring count is refreshed before Dunne keeps on Strong with a chop. He puts the arm back on the steps, but Strong pulls it out of the way in time. Strong then pulls Dunne off the steps to throw him into them!

Dunne falls to the ground while the referee checks on him. Both men are apparently okay to continue, so Strong brings Dunne into the ring. Cover, TWO, but he clobbers Dunne with low boot after boot. He grinds a knee into Dunne’s ribs, pulling him in add pressure. Dunne uses his legs to fight out, the fans duel as Strong staggers back. Strong returns and grabs Dunne again, for a pumphandle backbreaker!

Cover, TWO, but Strong keeps his cool. Dunne clutches his back as Strong brings him up into a corner. Strong chops Dunne, Dunne slaps Strong. Strong boots back and rocks Dunne, then brings him back up for yet another backbreaker. Dunne rolls to a corner but Strong won’t let up. Strong stomps a mudhole into Dunne, even as Dunne tries to fight back with finger manipulation. The fans duel as Strong brings Dunne up and to a corner. Strong hoists Dunne to the top rope then climbs up with him. He goes for a superplex but Dunne gets a hold of the fingers again. Dunne clubs and slaps Strong to the floor, then adjusts to jump and stomp Strong’s arm on the way down!

The referee checks on Strong but Strong won’t give up just because of that. He and Dunne get up onto the apron, Dunne runs over but into Strong’s boot! Strong continues with an enziguri, then a fireman’s carry, just to drop him on the apron!

The fans applaud the severity of this action while we go to break.

NXT returns again, and Strong stomps away on Dunne. He grabs for Dunne but Dunne scrambles to ropes. The ref counts the break, Strong backs off, and Dunne comes out with a stinging enziguri! Strong is dazed but still hits Dunne with back elbow and forward elbow. Now Dunne is a bit dazed as the fans rally. The two men slowly stand up, and Strong whips Dunne to a corner. Dunne goes up and over to enziguri Strong again, to then Falcon Arrow him into the armbar!

Strong rolls so Dunne adjusts into the hammerlock and stretch! Dunne even isolates fingers, before pulling back and letting it fling forward! Strong writhes in pain as Dunne gets himself to a corner. Dunne climbs up but Strong anchors a foot. Dunne fights him off but then Strong yanks him off the top into the cradling hold. However, Strong’s bad arm keeps him from holding Dunne up, so Dunne gets Strong in powerbomb position, for a swift sit-out!

TWO! Dunne’s back hurts too much for him to be frustrated. The two men stir with fans cheering them both on. Dunne stands up first as the fans duel again. He toys with Strong, then drags him up by that bad arm. Dunne bends the fingers but Strong powers Dunne into a corner. The buckle impact breaks the hold, and Strong gets space. He runs back in but misses, Dunne throws him back with a German Suplex. Dunne then hurries out and up, and jumps, only for Strong to dropkick him out of the air!

Strong crawls to a cover, TWO! It was a close call, but Dunne still got out. The fans rally for both men again as Strong pursues Dunne. Strong chops Dunne, then runs side to side for the forearm smash! He lifts Dunne but Dunne counters to a pin, TWO and Strong slips Dunne to a crucifix pin, TWO! Dunne jumps but Strong catches him into the cradling backbreaker!

Cover, TWO! The fans applaud as both men are down on the mat. The fans build back to a rally, then duel as the two men stand up again. Strong brings Dunne over for forearms and chops, then wants the Olympic Slam, but Dunne slips out to shove Strong into buckles. Dunne gets Strong on the rebound with a Half ‘n’ Half!

Dunne raises his fist, but rocks Strong with a swift kick, then covers! TWO! Both men are exhausted but the fans keep rallying for them. Dunne kicks Strong from the mat, then grabs that bad arm for teh triangle! Strong makes it a cover, Dunne fights back, so Strong deadlifts Dunne and brings him to ropes, for an elevated rope guillotine! Dunne slumps down against ropes, but he still gets himself under the bottom rope. The fans duel as Strong and Dunne get up on both sides of the ropes. Strong climbs a corner and brings Dunne over. He brings Dunne up to the top with him, but Dunne resists. Strong clubs Dunne in the back, then hits the SUPER Olympic Slam!!

The crash landing sends Dunne far away, Strong has to crawl to the cover, TWO!! Strong feels the frustration building as he and Dunne rest on the mat. The fans rally once more, and Strong goes over to Dunne. Dunne grabs the bad fingers, but Strong breaks the grip to then rock Dunne with a jumping knee strike! He runs at Dunne in a corner for another big knee strike! And then throws him with the running mat slam! Cover, TWO! Strong feels how close he is, but the fans hope they “Fight Forever!” He brings Dunne back up, prepares a suplex but Dunne hits the X-Plex outta nowhere!

He’s not done there, he grabs Strong in the pumphandle, but Strong slips out of the Bitter End! Strong forearms, back elbows then throws more elbows from both sides. Dunne catches Strong with a forearm to the back of the head! But this only gives Strong the momentum for a running knee! Strong grabs Dunne in the double underhook, and hits a tigerbomb! TWO, but Strong rolls Dunne for the Strong Hold!

However, that bad hand makes it tough to hold it. Dunne manages to roll it back and grabs the bad hand. He snaps the fingers! Strong flies back in pain and tumbles out of the ring! Dunne grins as he gets up and kicks Strong on reentry. Then, Bitter End!!

Dunne wins! The UK Championship stays with the UK superstar! What will it take to dethrone the Bruiserweight from his championship throne?

 

Johnny Gargano raised the stakes on himself in regards to the NXT Championship.

Even though he went into NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia “the most confident” he’s ever been in his career, he did not defeat El Idolo. However, what he earned that night meant even more to him than a title, “Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling” earned the NXT Universe’s love and respect. But in an attempt to add insult to injury, Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega came out to denounce everything Gargano said. Respect? Who cares! The championship is still theirs, and Almas has defeated Gargano in a 3-0 sweep. Gargano isn’t Johnny Wrestling, he’s “Johnny Loser.” Gargano reminded Vega of the hand she played in that match, as well as what Mrs. Wrestling, Candice LeRae, did to her in return. And when Vega started getting in Gargano’s face, Candice appeared! Mr. & Mrs. Wrestling then ran Almas & Vega off, and it pissed Vega off so much that she granted Gargano a rematch, but on one condition: if Gargano loses this time, he LEAVES NXT! Johnny Wrestling accepted the challenge, but will he come to regret it?

 

NXT Paparazzi caught up with Velveteen Dream.

The Patrick Clark Experience opens by saying he refuses to answer questions regarding Kassius Ohno. Secondly, he addresses his coming match with No Way Jose. “No Way Jose brings the Fiesta, The Dream will bring The Experience. That’s all.” But not really, as he now addresses Tyler Bate of the WWE UK Division. A former UK Champion at only “five foot nothing”, yet Bate sees himself as a big enough star to wrestle Dream 1v1? They ask if he could elaborate. Is he saying he’ll give Bate a match? He refuses to comment, and tells them to get out of the way. The NXT media still has a lot to ask Dream, but that will have to be for another time.

 

Aleister Black heads to the ring.

While the Embodiment of The End is still on a dominant 1v1 streak, he isn’t here to make someone #FadetoBlack. He walks to the ring to an ovation from the fans, and wishes to speak. “This path has always led one way.” It has put Aleister “face to face with a sensation, led to an Experience, and pushed my limits in the face of an Era.” But now Aleister has a “devil” on his back. That devil drives Aleister, because “that devil is the NXT Championship!” Aleister must possess that title. However, a certain Beast of Belfast appears!

Equally dominant in his own right, Killian Dain is here to make his presence known. He joins Aleister in the ring to speak his mind. “The devil isn’t on your back. I am!” And Dain will not stop until the NXT Championship is around his waist. But if Aleister has a problem with what he’s saying, then Dain will warn him: “Your path will be stopped by chaos.” The two stare down, but Aleister is not intimidated. Dain goes to leave when Aleister calls his name. Aleister continues by walking up to Dain, and saying, “You crossed me, so now you must Fade to Black.” Dain grins, liking Aleister’s moxie. Dain leaves all the same, and the two stare down one more time as Dain reaches the stage. What will happen when order and chaos collide on the road to the title?

 

TM61 VS John Skyler & Andrew Duckworth!

Shane Thorne & Nick Miller are back to continue proving The Mighty Don’t Kneel. Can they also prove that The Mighty Deserve Championships with another win?

The bell rings and Miller starts against “The Southern Savior” Skyler. They tie up, spin around and end up at the ropes. Skyler lets go, only to chop Miller at the ropes. Miller fires off forearms fast, then chops Skyler in return. He whips Skyler and knocks him down with a forearm, then chops him in the Mighty corner before tagging Thorne in. Miller whips Thorne in for a big back elbow, then comes in for a corner clothesline of his own. Then he feeds Skyler to Thorne’s lariat! Duckworth rushes in but gets a back suplex from Thorne. Thorne goes after Skyler with a running European Uppercut, then goes for a suplex, but Skyler blocks and kicks at that repaired leg! Skyler clubs Thorne into his corner, then tags Duckworth in. Duckworth and Skyler mug Thorne in their corner, then Duckworth goes for a back suplex of his own. Thorne slips out, shoves Duckworth, then dropkicks him on the rebound. Tag to Miller, tag to Skyler, but it’s Miller who rallies! He knocks Skyler down, sees Duckworth coming and puts the bigger man into an open corner. Miller suplexes but Skyler slips out and around. Miller throws a back elbow but Skyler ducks it, only to end up in a DDT! Duckworth runs back out, but into Miller’s spinebuster!

Miller tags Thorne while Duckworth and Skyler end up in the same corner, Thorne leaps for a big cannonball sandwich!

The fans fire up as The Mighty pick Skyler up, and hit him with Thunder Valley!

TM61 wins! Miller & Thorne are on a roll, can they roll right up to the Undisputed Era’s NXT Tag Team Championships?

 

NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon VS Shayna Baszler!

The Prophecy of Flame may be the #Shenom, but she was still tested like no other against the Queen of Spades. However, Shayna’s claims that Ember only survived rather than won got under the champion’s skin, so this rematch was granted to put the rumors to rest! Can NXT’s War Goddess remain on top against the merciless Submission Magician?

It should be noted that Ember still has Kinesio Tape on her left arm. She may be medically cleared, but is that tape going to be nothing more than a bullseye for her opponent?

The bell rings and Ember dropkicks Shayna in the face immediately! She keeps going, hammering away on the “bully” Baszler. Shayna takes it and goes after the bad arm! Ember slips away, kicking Shayna on the mat. Ember throws more hammer fists and Shayna grabs at the bad arm for a Kimura, but Ember still narrowly escapes. Shayna sits up, and Ember kicks her square in the shoulder! The rage does not subside, Ember keeps hammering away on Shayna. She brings Shayna up just to knee her back down, then stalks Shayna to ropes. The fans cheer as Ember kicks and clubs away at Shayna, but the referee counts. He backs Ember down, but Ember still rocks Shayna with an enziguri! Ember roars as fans fire up, and boots Shayna right in the chest!

Shayna is uncharacteristically on the defense and down on the mat as Ember goes to a corner. Ember climbs, and we know what that means. She takes aim, but Shayna sees her rising, so she slips out of the ring. Ember watches Shayna catching her breath on the outside, so she hops down to build speed and DIVE!

Both women crash into the announce desk, and that unfortunately aggravates Ember’s bad arm! She writhes and screams in pain while the fans chant “NXT! NXT!” The referee also checks on Shayna, and she is still okay to compete. A ring count begins and gets past 7 before Shayna gets up and over to Ember. The count gets to 8 as Shayna puts Ember back in the ring, and this match continues. Shayna goes after that bad arm with a kick, then lets her hair down as her frustration boils up. She tortures Ember with a seated double wristlock. Ember endures and refuses to quit, so Shayna bends that arm back and stomps on it!

She isn’t done, she grabs Ember’s arm and goes for the cross armbreaker, but Ember quickly clasps her hands. The fans cheer Ember on, and Ember rolls Shayna like back in TakeOver: Philadelphia! TWO, and Shayna grins, telling Ember it won’t end like that again. She kicks that bad arm, then tries the cross armbreaker again. Ember again clasps her hands to hold it off, but can’t hold on, Shayna gets the full extension! Shayna even adds on a wristlock twist! Ember endures and drags herself around with her legs, and manages the ropebreak by a toe! The ref counts, Shayna lets go at 3, but then comes right back. Ember holds onto the rope but Shayna pries her away to then drag her by her hair. Ember surprises Shayna with a victory roll! TWO! Shayna gives Ember a knee, then throws her into a post! Ember tumbles all the way out and to the ground. Shayna walks around and catches her breath while the ring count begins. Champion’s Advantage prompts her to fetch Ember, but not without adding on a little extra. She exposes the barriers and threads Ember’s bad arm through the gaps, to then stomp away without resistance!

Shayna then shifts to pulling on Ember’s arm with the barrier between them! The referee comes out to count, Shayna lets go to keep from being disqaulified. Ember gets free of the guard rail, but Shayna grabs her arm again, torturing it with how she bends it. But then, coming in from the crowd, it’s the Pirate Princess, Kairi Sane! She climbs up the steel steps and jumps at Shayna for a flying forearm!

Kairi gets payback on Shayna for her sneak attack weeks ago, both physically and in that the match is disqualified! Ember will retain her championship! Kairi keeps going as she hammers more forearms into Shayna, then pursues her into the ring. Shayna swings on Kairi but Kairi evades to rally on the Queen of Spades! Every time Shayna gets up, Kairi knocks her down. She knocks Shayna out of the ring, but dares her to come back for more. However, Kairi makes the mistake of checking on Ember, and Shayna slips back into the ring! Shayna rushes Kairi but she’s ready for it, and hits Shayna with the Interceptor Spear!!

The fans are thunderous for the Mae Young Classic winner, and she’s still fired up to fight Shayna. Shayna isn’t as eager, she backs down. Shayna wins the match but we know Ember retains, will the controversy only delay the inevitable? And as Kairi stares down her MYC opponent, will Shayna have to get through her to try again?

 

My Thoughts:

A pretty great episode of NXT here. I was surprised but not at all disappointed with having the WWE UK Championship match first. This was an amazing match, Strong looked strong and it really bolsters Dunne’s own strength for him to win. Of course, it was a bit of a foregone conclusion that an American wrestler wasn’t going to win the UK Championship just yet, but maybe even for just a second it felt like Strong could’ve done it. There’s still a lot WWE needs to do to show their commitment to the UK title and its Division, but as long as we’re getting great matches while we wait, I can be patient. The crossover work helps, such as how Velveteen Dream is taking issue with Tyler Bate. I don’t doubt Dream VS Bate will make for a great program and match, I’m just not sure where it’ll lead either man afterward. However, Aleister VS Damo definitely will lead to an NXT Championship down the way. I can’t see Aleister losing in singles competition just yet, but their match result may depend on next week’s Almas VS Gargano NXT Championship match. There are a lot of variables and moving pieces with the NXT Championship, I’ll likely be pleased by any of the outcomes.

When I saw TM61 coming out for their match, I was a bit concerned about the timing, considering we still had the NXT Women’s Championship match to go. In the end, it was a fast match, putting the returning Skyler and the debuting Duckworth away easily. With the Authors of Pain still in NXT but feeling on their way out to the main roster, TM61 should be the ones to challenge reDRagon next. Then in the NXT Women’s Championship, it was shorter and ends in “controversy”, but it was still solid work from everyone. Ember and Shayna play their characters perfectly, the angry “underdog” champion giving the arrogant upstart challenge a small taste of her own medicine, only for Shayna to get the better of Ember. I almost thought we were getting a referee stoppage to give Shayna the belt, a la Kevin Owens pummeling Sami Zayn until he couldn’t fight. Instead, Kairi Sane makes the save! Kairi and Shayna have unfinished business, but they both want to be champion, so I would hope that while Ember is grateful for the save, she and Kairi keep a competitive tension between them. In fact, I would love if it somehow becomes an NXT Women’s Championship Triple Threat for TakeOver: New Orleans to really make Wrestlemania Weekend something to watch.

My Score: 8.5/10

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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Report! (2/13/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Fifth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Akira Tozawa VS Mark Andrews; Andrews wins and advances to the second round.
  • Sixth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak; Gulak wins and advances to the second round.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Cruiserweight Championship tournament’s opening round hits the halfway point.

Cedric Alexander, TJP, Kalisto and the shocking entry of Roderick Strong have all advanced to the second round. Now we begin the second half to see which other four superstars will join them. Another former Cruiserweight Champion will battle a member of the WWE’s United Kingdom Division, and PowerPoint pals will be forced to put their friendship aside. But in the end, they all want one thing: to win the vacated Cruiserweight Championship as a Wrestlemania Moment!

 

Fifth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Akira Tozawa VS Mark Andrews!

The Stamina Monster once dethroned the King of the Cruiserweights to become champion, while the High-Fiving, Stage-Diving Welshman would like his first taste of WWE gold period. Will Tozawa keep out the crossover competitor on this Road to Wrestlemania?

Quick backstage interview with Mark Andrews.

What does it mean to him to come all the way from the UK to compete for this opportunity tonight? He’s really excited because everyone from around the world, from the UK to Japan, have been talking about 205 Live. Andrews is psyched to be part of it now, to high-five and stage-dive all the way to the Grandest Stage of Them All: Wrestlemania! Especially if it means he can become the new WWE Cruiserweight Champion.

Andrews makes his entrance and we have our match.

The two circle with the bell, and Tozawa starts up the “HAH! HAH!” battle cry. He and Andrews tie up, Tozawa gets the waistlock. They circle around, Andrews gets the headlock takeover but Tozawa gets the headscissors. Andrews holds onto the headlock and the two stand up, but then Tozawa rolls and floats over to a cover, TWO. The two stand off, and the fans applaud. Tozawa and Andrews circle again, Andrews getting the single leg takedown into a knee wrench toehold. Andrews deepens the bend and twist with a toe ‘n’ ankle while keeping the other leg down. 205 Live General Manager Drake Maverick watches backstage as Tozawa works to free that trapped leg.

Andrews keeps twisting and Tozawa keeps enduring. Tozawa crawls for ropes but Andrews drags him away to add on another twist. Andrews keeps Tozawa grounded, but Tozawa gets free, so Andrews stands up to wrench the arm and wrist. Tozawa rolls and reverses the hold, starting up the “HAH! HAH!” at the same time. Tozawa spins Andrews to a waistlock, but Andrews spins out to reverse the armlock. Andrews grounds Tozawa again, and then wraps Tozawa up in an Octopus Stretch!

He bends the free arm back and back, looking up at the Wrestlemania sign for motivation. Tozawa starts working his way out, but Andrews easily shifts into a sunset flip, TWO! They get up, Andrews arm-drags Tozawa a couple times, but Tozawa blocks the third with pure strength. Tozawa brings Andrews back up, Andrews slips around him and gets that arm-drag hat trick! They both get back up, Tozawa kicks in low. He runs, Andrews ducks and Tozawa jumps over for the sunset flip, but Andrews back-flips out of it into a low dropkick! Cover, ONE, but Andrews keeps his cool. He stomps Tozawa, then drags him back up. Tozawa frees himself and chops Andrews stiff in the chest. Andrews chops back, and we have a chop fight. They go back and forth, Tozawa fakes a chop to get the jab!

Andrews staggers to a corner and Tozawa comes over to stomp a “HAH! HAH!” mudhole into him. The fans join in, even as Tozawa backs off at the ref’s count. He brings Andrews up and out for a snapmare, then runs for the Penalty Kick and back senton! Cover, TWO, but Tozawa keeps his cool. He goes after Andrews in a seated abdominal stretch, giving Andrews a taste of his own medicine. Andrews slips out but is brought back down, and Tozawa stomps on Andrews. They go to a corner and Tozawa brings Andrews up for more chops. Tozawa ax handles Andrews a couple times, then snapmares him into another form of the seated abdominal stretch. Fans slowly build to a rally and Andrews pries himself free again. Andrews fights back with forearms, one after another, and Tozawa sits down. Andrews brings him back up for a European Uppercut, but Tozawa knees low. Tozawa throws Andrews, but Andrews responds with a surprise 619!

Andrews takes aim while Tozawa staggers away, and springboards for a big flying crossbody!

Cover, TWO, and now Andrews feels some frustration. He kicks Tozawa while he’s down, then puts Tozawa’s leg back in the spinning toehold. Andrews now puts Tozawa in the Indian Deathlock to go right after the knees.

Tozawa endures, then chops Andrews in the chest. Andrews chops back while maintaining the hold. When Tozawa refuses to tap, Andrews stands up and pulls him out of the hold to go back after the arms. Andrews moves back into the Octopus Stretch but Tozawa resists stronger this time, letting out the “HAH! HAH!” Tozawa gets free, fights back with back elbows, but Andrews backs him down with kicks to the leg. Andrews whips but Tozawa reverses, Tozawa gets Andrews in the huricanrana! Then he hits Andrews with a screaming Shining Wizard!

Tozawa doesn’t stop there, he puts Andrews in position and with fans echoing “HAH! HAH!”, Tozawa climbs up up top. He takes aim, but Andrews slips out of the ring. Tozawa doesn’t complain, he just hops down and builds speed to DIVE!

The Tozawa Torpedo downs Andrews and the fans fire up. Tozawa puts Andrews back in the ring, covers, TWO! Frustration won’t stop Tozawa, he gets up and drags Andrews back over to a corner. The fans “HAH! HAH!” again as Tozawa climbs back up top. Tozawa takes aim again but Andrews stands up. Andrews runs over, Tozawa jumps over, and they both go corner to corner for Andrews to hit double knees in a corner! Then he brings Tozawa out for the Northern Lights suplex, and Andrews rolls through for a standing corkscrew moonsault!

TWO, and Andrews feels frustration growing. He catches his breath and cools off before bringing Tozawa back up. Andrews grabs Tozawa in a full nelson, but Tozawa arm-drags out of it. Tozawa back kicks, swings, slips under, blocks and hits the saido suplex! He crawls to a cover, TWO! Tozawa gets up again and brings Andrews up for big forearms. He “HAH! HAH!” with each one as he drops Andrews to a knee, then roars before running into Andrews’ mule kick. Andrews kicks Tozawa again, then runs only to run into Tozawa’s boot! Tozawa runs, Andrews slips past him, comes back to tilt-o-whirl into Stun Dog Millionaire! Cover, TWO! Both men are down from exhaustion, but Tozawa rolls himself away slowly. Andrews sits up and sees Tozawa in the corner. He walks over to hoist Tozawa up, keeping him there with a chop. Andrews climbs up, goes for the Super Steiner, but Tozawa blocks with more of that strength! Tozawa lifts Andrews up powerbomb style, but Andrews hits SUPER STEINER after all!

He crawls to the cover, TWO!! The frustration boils over, Andrews can’t believe that didn’t work. But he sees Tozawa in position, and hurries to the corner again. Andrews climbs up and takes aim at Tozawa. Shooting Star, but he has to bail out as Tozawa evades! Tozawa hits the spinning roundhouse! Tozawa goes for La Mahistrol, but Andrews counters with his own cover! ANDREWS WINS!!

And Tozawa’s face says it all, this is a major surprise!

It was fast and it was fair, there’s no way around it. Andrews points to Tozawa to give props and respect, but he also points to the Wrestlemania sign. Can Andrews make it all the way to the end and become a crossover Cruiserweight Champion?

 

Backstage interview with Jack Gallagher.

Gentleman Jack will face the Pakistani Prince, Mustafa Ali, next week as part of the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament’s opening round. And he’s absolutely delighted to hear it. However, before he can continue, 205 Live GM Drake Maverick enters.

Spud says hello to Dasha then compliments Gallagher’s suit. “John Phillips, London. I have two myself.” That aside, Spud questions Gallagher thinking that’s “appropriate attire in a WWE ring.” Because Maverick doesn’t. As he told others before, this is a new 205 Live. Next week, Gallagher better be here in proper wrestling attire. Spud does say Gallagher is one of the best in the Cruiserweight Division today, and perhaps even in the entire WWE. “So sort yourself out, mate.” Spud says bye to Dasha before taking his leave, leaving Gallagher with much to consider. Will Gallagher be seen back in his old trunks again starting next week?

 

205 Live announces next week Cruiserweight Championship Tournament matches.

The Privileged Persian Lion will take on “NXT’s Best Kept Secret”, Buddy Murphy!

A former NXT Tag Team Champion as well as fiance to the Goddess of Raw, Murphy does admit that losing the tag titles brought him crashing down in the ranks. However, he pulled himself up and looked himself in the mirror to say, “That’s who I was. Now it’s time to create who I’m going to be.” Spud gave him the call and that sparked a fire in Murphy to get back in championship shape. Training to get under 205 has been “the hardest thing I’ve possibly ever done in my life”, especially since he’s normally competed over that weight. Spud even went to the Performance Center to hold Murphy’s official 205 Live Cruiserweight Division weigh-in. Murphy stepped up to the scale, and his official weight…

At 204.4 lbs, Murphy narrowly makes it in! But that was just step one. Murphy vows that in step two, the Cruiserweight Championship tournament itself, he will step over everyone else to “walk down the ramp at Wrestlemania.” Can the Best Kept Secret break out into the best spotlight of them all?

 

Sixth Cruiserweight Championship Tournament First Round match: Tony Nese VS Drew Gulak!

Though friends under “Team PowerPoint” and a certain certified train, the Philly Fury and the Premier Athlete were each cut to the heart with comments from the 205 Live GM. Tonight they battle to not only see who is the better, but who is more deserving of the Cruiserweight Championship. Will their friendship become stronger, or crumble apart, with gold on the line?

The bell rings and the two circle with intensity in their eyes. Gulak offers a handshake of respect, but Nese kicks it away. Nese is too focused on the title for there to be friendship and respect, so Gulak just comes at him to grapple. Nese powers Gulak down to the mat, then flexes to show off the peaks. Gulak gets up and they circle again. Nese lunges but Gulak catches him with a shoulder to the abs, then a takedown. Gulak floats over to an armlock, then a chinlock that grinds and thrashes Nese to the mat. Nese rolls and covers, Gulak bridges at ONE. Gulak brings Nese back up to a deep neck wrench then a forearm grinding on the face. Nese gets up, takes Gulak down and goes for a toehold but Gulak quickly counters and shifts to an armbar, which Nese quickly blocks by clasping hands. The referee gets down low to check shoulders while Nese tries to power Gulak to a cover. Gulak counteracts with a palm on Nese’s face. Nese gets to his feet and grabs a leg but Gulak uses the other leg to sweep and then get the mount. He pushes Nese back to a cover, ONE, and Nese stands up to go after Gulak’s leg again. Nese drags Gulak and goes for a half-crab, but Gulak kicks him away with his free leg.

Nese staggers to a corner while Gulak gets up. Gulak runs in for a big running haymaker, then he whips Nese corner to corner. Nese stops himself short and back elbows Gulak away, to then jump up and jump back! Gulak gets under the corner moonsault, but Nese lands on his feet. Gulak runs at Nese but Nese Matrix handsprings to evade. Nese mule kicks Gulak then kene lifts, roundhouses and sweeps, cover, TWO! The fans applaud this exchange even as Nese stomps and kicks Gualk while he’s down. Gulak stares up at him defiantly so Nese keeps kicking. Nese brings Gulak up and goes for a suplex but Gulak body shots back. Gulak goes to hip toss, but Nese blocks and rolls Gulak to the mat. Nese puts Gulak’s legs in a sort of Figure Four while also trapping an arm in a unique combination of holds.

Gulak endures this unique submission, and fans actually rally for him! Nese rolls him to a cover, TWO, but Nese keeps on him by throwing him out of the ring. Nese takes aim, slingshots over, but Gulak moves so Nese lands on the apron. Gulak rushes Nese to sweep the legs but Nese cartwheels over to land on the ground and rock Gulak with a left forearm!

Gulak falls down and Nese leaves him out there, but then Gulak gets right back up to drag Nese right back out. Nese ducks the clothesline to throw in a kick, but Gulak blocks to put the leg on the apron to back suplex Nese to the ground!

Nese hits with a thud as the ref starts a ring count. Gulak gets in but Nese only writhes as the count gets to 5. The count climbs and Gulak seems satisfied to accept this, but then he sees Nese get up. Nese beats that count but Gulak is right on him, covers, ONE. Gulak clubs Nese then springboard stomps on him from both sides. Gulak grabs Nese’s leg and DDT’s the foot into the mat to jam the ankle. Cover, TWO, but Gulak shifts right into an armlock on Nese’s dominant left arm. Nese endures, and wills his way back up. He fights back with body shots, but Gulak rams a knee into his head. Gulak runs, but Nese blasts him with a running back elbow! Both men are down, but Nese drags himself to ropes. Gulak walks over but Nese blocks the punches to counter punches. Gulak keeps trying, but now Nese hits him with a cravat knee strike, then runs for a boot to the mouth! Nese keeps going, getting the staggered Gulak with the windmill kick! Gulak goes down but fans fire up with Nese. Nese runs into the corner and hits Gulak with a spinning back elbow! He keeps going, and brings Gulak down with a leaping lariat!

Cover, TWO! The frustration builds but Nese brings Gulak up and around. He wants a pumphandle but Gulak elbows out. Gulak whips but Nese slips under to pumphandle after all! But Gulak slips out and shoves Nese to ropes, then jumps but Nese shoves him down! Cover, TWO! The two men are exhausted but still stirring. Fans build to a rally for both men, Gulak hits Nese with a body shot but then Nese lifts Gulak in a fireman’s carry, for a gutbuster drop!

Cover, TWO, and the frustration grows. Nese glares down at Gulak, then drags him up again. Gulak fights back with body shots and a shove, but Nese rocks him with another left forearm. Nese runs but Gulak follows and responds with a dropkick! Gulak grabs Nese for a wicked single-leg suplex!

Cover, TWO! Gulak is surprised, but he actually grins. He dares Nese to get up for more, but Nese fights back with lefts and rights. Nese staggers Gulak again, then kicks him while he’s down. Now Nese dares Gulak get up as he keeps kicking and kicking. Nese roars, but Gulak grabs him by the beard! Gulak slaps Nese across the face again and again! Then Gulak shovels Nese up onto his shoulders, for the Electric Chair Drop!

Bridging cover, TWO!! Nese crawls to the ropes, but Gulak stalks him from behind. Gulak grabs Nese into the guillotine, with body scissors!

Nese endures the squeeze, tries to power out and reach ropes, but Gulak grabs that reaching hand to bring it back in. However, Nese turns that wristlock around into his own, so that he can suplex Gulak up. Gulak resists and brings himself down to land on the apron. The ref calls for a ropebreak, but instead, Gulak tries to suplex Nese to the outside! Nese lands, and breaks free. He swings a kick but Gulak blocks, so Nese sweeps the legs, falling Gulak to the apron! Gulak tumbles down, Nese builds speed, to FLY!

The Premier Athlete brings Gulak down in clear defiance of #Drewtopia rules. Not only that, but Nese puts Gulak in the ring to climb to the top rope! Nese jumps for the 450, but flops when Gulak rolls away! Gulak hurries up to his feet, goes for the dragon sleeper, but Nese slips out and under, pumphandle into the Michinoku Driver!

TWO!! Somehow Gulak survives, and Nese’s frustration builds again. Both men slowly stir as the fans build to a rally. Nese stands up but Gulak hits first with headbutts to the ribs. Gulak rushes in but into Nese’s knee. Nese brings Gulak over to a corner, and gives him a reverse powerbomb into the top buckle. Gulak is dazed as Nese waits down below. Nese rolls Gulak, but Gulak has that arm, so Nese deadlifts Gulak to powerbomb him all the way into the adjacent corner’s buckles!

Gulak is down, but Nese gets himself up. He wills himself to stand up while Gulak is still dazed. The knee pad comes down, Nese runs to the other corner and back, but Gulak avoids the Premier Kneese by rolling out of the ring. Nese goes out to fetch Gulak, but Gulak springs to life to resist. Nese still slaps Gulak across the face, then puts him into the ring. Gulak grits his teeth and his eyes fill with fire as he blasts Nese off the apron and to the announce desk! Now Nese is dazed as he falls to the floor. The referee has to check on Nese, which gives Gulak time to recover in the ring. Gulak won’t let Nese get off easy, shouting at him, “We finish what we start!” He throws Nese into the side of the announce desk! The referee reprimands Gulak but Gulak keeps going, throwing Nese even harder into the announce desk!

He puts Nese into the ring, then glares up at the Wrestlemania sign before reentering the ring. Gulak runs, to flip Nese upside-down with a lariat! The referee tells Gulak to stay back as he checks on Nese, but Gulak refuses! He picks Nese right up to throw him right back down with a powerbomb!

And then deadlifts him for another! The referee checks on Nese again as Gulak roars. Gulak drags Nese up, for the Gu-Lock Dragon Sleeper, complete with body scissors!

The referee calls it, Nese is out cold! Gulak wins, but he’s still burning with rage aimed at the Premier Athlete.

Perhaps Nese regrets not accepting the handshake at the start now, because it might have gained him so mercy here tonight. With this new fire lit inside him, can Gulak rip his way through the tournament and become the new Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania?

 

My Thoughts:

A damn good episode right here. The opening package was great and the quick interview with Andrews just before going out was also great. The best thing about the tournament these last couple weeks has been the surprise factor, where the win goes to the unexpected choice. I was pleasantly surprised last week when still-NXT-superstar Roderick Strong won, and I am again pleasantly surprised when WWE UK superstar Mark Andrews won tonight. The Cruiserweight Division has been needing a bit of crossover with other Divisions, so starting small like this is actually a very big thing. The best Andrews could do, in my estimation, is get to the semi-finals, but depending on how the bracket works out (still haven’t seen one from WWE) he might be used to help bolster one of the other favorites. He might even face the winner of the other match from tonight, in the incredible rough and tumble main event. Before that, I also enjoyed Spud now getting on Gallagher’s case in terms of his misuse of character. If it means Gallagher returns to his rainbow-striped trunks, I’m actually kinda for this continued reprimanding of the Heel Cruiserweights. Then, that main event, WOW. Great in-ring stuff with even greater character development. Commentary did a great job reminding us of the back story here without mentioning Enzo. I loved it when Gulak slapped Nese again and again, very much like what Oney Lorcan in NXT would do. There was a great visual aesthetic with Nese and Gulak, too, with the red vs blue, a classic trope of opposites that still parallel and rival each other (just look at Raw and SmackDown). I imagine this might’ve been what their blow-off would’ve been like had the ‘Zo Train finished the way it was meant to. Either way, Gulak himself might not make it to the semifinals but he and whoever he’s up against will put on great matches in the coming rounds.

My Score: 8.5/10

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