This review of NJPW: Strong Style Evolved will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com
- 6 Man Tag: Roppongi 3K VS SoCal Uncensored; RPG3K wins.
- Taguchi Japan’s Juice Robinson & David Finlay VS Chaos’ Hirooki Goto & Gedo; Robinson & Finlay win.
- Chaos’ Chuck Taylor & Toru Yano VS Killer Elite Squad; Killer Elite Squad wins.
- The Guerrillas of Destiny VS Cody & Marty Scurll; Cody & Scurll win.
- 8 Man Tag: Dragon Lee & Taguchi Japan VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; LIJ win.
- Jyushin Thunder Liger VS Will Ospreay; Ospreay wins.
- Chaos’ Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii VS Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr; Suzuki & ZSJ win.
- IWGP United States Championship: Jay White VS Hangman Page; White wins and retains the IWGP USC.
- Golden☆Lovers VS The Young Bucks; Golden☆Lovers win.
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PLAY BY PLAY
For NJPW, the G1 Special in the USA was only the beginning.
NJPW, as well as their partner in ROH, has ascended to new heights, and have even evolved. The stars are out to outshine each other, from top to bottom of tonight’s match card. Strongest of all, the Switchblade as the new IWGP United States Champion already has a major contender in the Bullet Club’s Problem Solver. And as the Bullet Club Civil War grows stronger, the reunited Golden Lovers wish to show Omega’s other friends, The Young Bucks, who really is the best tag team in the world today. Tonight is about survival of the fittest, tonight is about who has evolved.
6 Man Tag: Roppongi 3K VS SoCal Uncensored!
Rocky Romero helped Sho & Yo evolve from Tempura Boyz into Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions! Meanwhile, The Addiction adapted and added Scorpio Sky in order to pursue trios titles. Which team will have proven themselves the better adapter here tonight?
The fans chant for “Rocky! Rocky!” as he starts against Scorpio. Rocky and Scorpio circle, tie up, and Rocky gets the arm wrench. Scorpio rolls and rolls then spins to bring Rocky to the mat. Rocky stands back up but can’t grab hair because Scorpio is bald. Rocky hits Scorpio so Scorpio hits back, and they move to chops. Scorpio changes to forearms, Rocky gives a strike fest. Rocky whips but Scorpio reverses to a takedown, roll and neckbreaker! The fans applaud as Scorpio backs off and watches Rocky. Scorpio tags Kaz while Rocky tags in Yo. Kaz kicks low, puts Yo in a headlock, but Yo fights and powers out. Kaz runs Yo over but Yo is right back up, only for Kaz to kick and whip again. Yo runs and whips Kaz, to then run Kaz over with a flying elbow.
Tag to Sho, Yo hits Scorpio and Daniels, then Sho & Yo double whip. Things speed up, drop toehold to dropkick! Daniels runs in but he gets dropkicks, and RPG3K has SCU on the defensive. Kaz rakes Sho’s eyes and tags Scorpio, Scorpio fires of on Sho. Things speed up again, Sho dropkicks Scorpio! Kaz back in but he gets the knee, and the fans chant for “Roppongi! Roppongi!” Yo tags back in, and clubs Kaz down. He snap suplexes, cover, TWO. Kaz wants a time-out but there are none in wrestling. He wants a handshake, Yo kicks him instead. Yo backs Kaz down then whips but Kaz reverses, cheap kick from Daniels! Yo rocks Daniels with a right, then he fights Kaz back. He runs, but Scorpio trips him up, Kaz springboards but doesn’t quite get it, still drops the legs.
Daniels tags in and keeps on Yo, then whips Yo to ropes for the calf kick. Daniels grinds a knee into Yo, then brings Yo over to tag in Kaz. The Addiction double whip while fans rally, Kaz body shots, Scorpio adds double stomps and then Daniels the STO, Kaz the leg drop, cover, TWO! Kaz grinds Yo with the facelock but Yo stands up and fights back. Fans rally again but the referee gets distracted. Rocky tags in, and clubs away on Kaz, but the referee stops that. Kaz brings Yo over and hangs him up on the ropes, to then kick him right in the chest. Daniels takes advantage with the Arabian press! He puts Yo back in the ring, Scorpio slingshots in for the cutter! Cover, TWO! Scorpio can’t believe that, but he tags Kaz back in.
Together, they put Yo in a corner and whip him corner to corner. Yo dodges the splash, then Kaz’s lariat, to tag in Rocky! Rocky springboards for the crossbody! He gets a two-for-one huricanrana on Daniels and Scorpio! He has the Addiction corner to corner for the infinite clotheslines! Kaz dodges but he still gets The Addiction at the same time! Rocky rallies the fans and punches on Kaz. He whips Kaz corner to corner, Kaz slips out but misses his lariat, Rocky knees him then springboards for the dropkick to Kaz’s back! Cover, but Daniels breaks it. Sho & Yo come in and go after Scorpio and Kaz. All six men are in, double whip but Kaz and Scorpio hold ropes. Sho & Yo run over but get dumped out of the ring. Rocky goes for Sliced Bread but Kaz grabs Rocky into tombstone position! Scorpio targets Sho & Yo and FLIES!
Meanwhile, The Addiction hit Best Meltzer Ever! Kaz covers, but Yo manages to break it! The fans are loving this. Yo fights Daniels and Scorpio alone, which doesn’t go his way. They double whip, but Yo dodges, the cutter hits Daniels! Yo enziguris Scorpio down, then regroups with Rocky and Sho. Sho tags in, he goes after Kaz. Yo helps out, they double whip but Scorpio tags in. Sho & Yo see it coming with a kick, then Yo slingshots over!
Sho German Suplexes once, twice, but Scorpio fights off the hat trick. Scorpio runs, but into the double knees! Yo bringS Scorpio up, suplexes for Sho, and together they hit the running dominator cutter! Cover, TWO!! Frustrated, Sho gets Scorpio up for Yo’s elbow. Backstabber to dropkick, but they’re gonna keep going. They rally the fans, then stalk Scorpio. They hit the 3K! Cover, Roppongi 3K wins!
Winners: Roppongi 3K (Romero, Sho & Yo; Yo pins)
Chaos’ flashy trio are victorious here against one of ROH’s top teams, can they find their way back to the IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles?
Taguchi Japan’s Juice Robinson & David Finlay VS Chaos’ Hirooki Goto & Gedo!
Juice & Finlay have been on a roll as of late, but they’re going up against veteran stars in the Fierce Warrior and the Rainmaker’s right hand man. Will youth and exuberance finally win out against old age and treachery?
The Flamboyant Juice starts with the NEVER Openweight Champion, who are very familiar with each other. Goto gets the waistlock but Juice pries his way out to the standing switch. Goto gets the reversal, but Juice reverses back. Juice wristlocks but Goto rolls to put on a hammerlock then headlock. Juice powers out, they collide but neither falls. The two stare down, Goto runs again, and Juice again withstands his shoulder. Juice runs now, fans cheering him on, but Goto bounces off his shoulders. Things speed up, Juice runs Goto over with the back elbow! Juice drops the back senton, then covers, TWO. Juice stares Gedo down, then brings Goto up for a chop. He whips Goto corner to corner, Goto reverses the whip but runs into a boot.
Juice runs but he and Goto collide with clotheslines. Juice fires up and runs again, but Goto follows. Goto misses, dodges, then gets Juice on the return. Finlay runs in but Goto catches him into a suplex onto Juice! The fans applaud while Goto stomps on Juice.
Goto bleeds from the mouth but is not bothered by it as he crossface punches Juice against the ropes. He stretches Juice back with a chinlock, knee digging into Juice’s back. The fans rally and Goto elbows Juice in the head. Goto tags to Gedo, Gedo keeps on Juice at the ropes with rakes to the eyes. Gedo stalks Juice while he reaches for Finlay, only to bring Juice back. He bumps Juice off Goto’s boot, then Goto tags in to drop more elbows. Juice fires back, so Goto rocks him with another heavy right.
Goto stalks Juice, tags in Gedo, and together they whip Juice for double shoulders. Gedo taunts Finlay, then rakes Juice’s eyes again. The referee counts and reprimands, Gedo lets up on Juice. Gedo taunts Juice while fans rally, Gedo jabs and jabs but Juice kicks to punch back! The fans chant “Juice! Juice!” with every punch, but then Gedo pokes his eyes. Juice returns the favor, and Gedo staggers over into Finlay’s punch! Hot tag to Finlay, and Goto comes in to intercept. Finlay still rallies on Goto, then whips but Goto reverses. Finaly gose up and over, builds speed and runs Goto over with the leaping elbow! He has Goto and Gedo in opposite corners, so he goes corner to corner for endless back elbows! Finlay pushes Gedo out, hops up, and hits a flying EuroUpper! Cover, TWO, but the fans are rallying for the Son of Fit Finlay.
Finlay goes for a cutter on Gedo, but Gedo pushes him away into Goto’s fireman’s carry and Ushigoroshi! Gedo adds a mule kick, then covers, but Juice breaks it. Goto is right on Juice and they brawl again. Juice runs but into the fireman’s carry, only to slip out for the full nelson slam! Juice is fired up, but Gedo gets him with an uppercut. He gives one right back, then slingshost to take Goto out. Finlay fires up as he stalks Gedo, for the stunner! Cover, Finlay & Juice win!
Winners: Robinson & Finlay
Flamboyant but ferocious, Finlay and Juice make quite the team already. If they found a way to defeat veterans like Goto & Gedo, will they be able to climb up to the top of NJPW’s Heavyweight Tag Team Division?
Chaos’ Chuck Taylor & Toru Yano VS Killer Elite Squad!
The Kentucky Gentleman and the Sublime Master Thief are set to take on some serious hard-hitting and un-apologetically obnoxious bad boys of Suzuki-Gun. Will the jovial and carefree combination be able to best the brutality of Archer & Davey Boy Jr?
Not when KES goes right at them before the bell! Archer beats down Yano outside while Davey Boy beats up Chuckie T in the ring. The fans chant for Chuck even as Davey Boy headbutts him. Chucke gets Sole Food out of a whip reversal, then puts Davey in a standing Octopus! Davey powers out but Chuck slips away. Chuck misses the enziguri but gets a big deadlift German Suplex from Davey. Davey boots Yano down, which fans boo, then he clubs Chuckie T. Tag to Archer, who throws heavy rights and chops. He runs corner to corner, but Chuckie gets a boot up. He goes to powerbomb, but Archer body drop shim up and over, then reels him into a lariat.
Fans boo the bad attitudes, but Archer keeps on Chuckie with a clubbing forearm. He walks up for some Old School, then all the way to tag Davey. Fans admit that was good with their applause. Davey taunts Yano but Chuck fights back with right hands. Davey still picks Chuck up and throws him down. Cover, TWO, but Davey chinlocks Chuck to grind him down. Fans rally for the Kentucky Gentleman, and Chuck feeds off it to fight out. Davey knees low then whips, belly2belly suplex, cover, TWO. Fans keep going for Chuckie but Davey turns him over for a Boston Crab. He adds a leg, that’s almost a Lion Tamer. Chuck endures, and fans rally, but Davey just lets him out to drop an elbow. He rains rights right into Chuck’s head, then tells the fans to shut up when they boo.
Tag to Archer, Archer gets in Yano’s face and Yano backs away from the ring. Archer stalks Chuck, the fans rally but Archer still runs Chuck over with a shoulder. Yano tries to come back but Archer scares him again. Fans try to give Yano courage, but Yano isn’t so sure. Archer tags Davey and KES mug Chuck in their corner. Davey double underhooks, then butterfly suplexes Chuck far. Cover, TWO, but back into a chinlock. The fans chant for “Chuckie T! Chuckie T!” Chuck fights out but ends up in KES’s corner again. Archer tags in and they mug Chuckie more. They go for the spinebuster lariat, but Chuckie ducks and turns it into a DDT on Davey!
Yano returns to his corner, the fans rally, and Chuckie fights off Archer to hot tag Yano! Yano throws forearm after forearm, but Archer hits him back. Archer runs, Yano grabs hair but Archer slaps him away. Archer whips Yano but Yano holds ropes! Yano taunts Archer, and then gets in the ropes for safety. The fans join in on the trolling, which infuriates Archer. Archer runs in, Yano dodges him. Then Yano begs for mercy. He tries the low blow, but Archer saw it coming! Archer whips but Yano reverses into the Atomic Drop. Nothing happens… And Yano freaks out to the ropes. The trolling continues but Archer doesn’t care, he knocks Yano down to the floor.
Fans boo but Archer just mocks Yano. Archer runs, but Yano ducks to deny him a target. Archer exits the ring, Yano trips him up! Then Yano gets out of the way and lets Davey collide with Archer! Chuckie T FLIES in outta nowhere! KES goes down, and Yano realizes he’s still standing. The fans want to see this, and he builds speed, to untie the pad!
Yano grabs the buckle pad, and tosses it to Archer. Archer swats it, then goes in, but Yano is upon him with stomps. That do nothing… Archer roars and grabs Yano’s hair, but so does Yano to Archer. They both want the other to let go, Yano gets the yank. Only to turn back around into an angry Archer.
Tag to Chuckie, then Archer hits those exposed buckles! Chuckie grabs Archer but Archer powers him up and over, sunset flip! TWO! Chuckie gets to a corner and knees back, then tries again. PILEDRIVER! Cover, but Davey breaks it. Yano throws him out, and Chuckie keeps on Archer. Davey hits Yano back, but Chuckie is climbing up high. MOONSAULT! But he lands on his feet when Archer rolls. Chuckie tries the backslide but no go, so he forearms Archer a few times. Chuckie runs, but into the POUNCE! Then CHOKE SLAM! Cover, TWO, into Crucifix! TWO!!
So close, so the KES want to finish this. Full-nelson lift but Chuckie fights back. He SUPERKICKS Archer, then with fans rallying, he gives Davey and Archer clotheslines in the corner. But archer follows and gets Chuckie with one of his own. Then the full-nelson, KILLER BOMB!! Cover, The Killer Elite Squad win!
Winners: Killer Elite Squad (Archer & Smith, Archer pins)
Being carefree doesn’t do it here. “Everybody dies” when they go up against Archer & Davey Boy, and Archer even calls out the “B Bros”. KES wins matches, they don’t. Are Archer & Davey Boy ready to take out #DemBoyz, the Briscoes, on their road to the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships?
The Guerrillas of Destiny VS Cody w/ Brandi Rhodes & Marty Scurll!
The Bullet Club Civil War spreads as now it drags in Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa to go against the would-be Leader and his pal in The Villain. Will the Bullet Club still be fine after yet another rivalry? For that matter, the fans are more on Scurll’s side than they are Cody, so will Cody’s ego be fine after this match?
Cody wishes to speak first, however, and grabs a mic. Fans boo, so he hands the mic to Scurll. The fans cheer, but then boo when Cody takes the mic back. The mic isn’t on, so the fans cheer again. The mic turns on and Cody speaks, insisting “Bullet Club is fine.” What isn’t, is booking this match. Cody says there will be no Bullet Club VS Bullet Club match. But here’s some knowledge as to why: because the members of The Bullet Club are all friends.
Tama Tonga, OG BC! GoD, the three time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions! Wrestlers like them is what made Bullet Club cool in the first place. And it’s “superstars” like Cody that make it popular today! The fans agree with the former more than the latter, by saying “F*** you, Cody!” Cody mishears that as “Team Cody”. But the studs here and the lovely woman of Brandi, it’s all Team Cody! Right, Tama?
Tama stares at Cody holding the mic out at him. Loa takes it for him, and says that Cody cannot deny Long Beach and the world this match. “Especially the Bullet Club family”, “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” Therefore, the scheduled match will happen, and if there is a team the GoD is on, it’s definitely not Team Cody. Cody takes offense and attacks Loa! The bell rings, and Tama gets right in Cody’s face. Tama fires off on Cody, whips him, then arm-drags him! Loa returns to clothesline Cody out, but then Scurll tries to be on their side? Brandi protests as Scurll tells Cody to get out of there! But Scurll isn’t fooling anyone, GoD stare him down and run him over! Scurll regroups with his friend, Cody, giving him an apologetic hug.
The fans chant for “GoD! GoD!” while Scurll returns to face Loa. Scurll wants a handshake? Loa refuses, so Cody tags in. Loa helps Cody with the ropes, and then the two circle. Cody tags back to Scurll. Scurll and Loa circle, fans rally, and they tie up. Loa gets the wristlock, Scrull spins and rolls to reverse. Scurll gets the headlock but Loa lifts him up. Scurll headlock takeovers but Loa headscissors, Scurll pops out to flap his wings. Loa just rock shim with an uppercut. Tag to Tama and Tama headbutts Scurll down. Tama scoop slams and elbow drops, Scurll scurries to a corner. Scurll hits back and tags to Cody. Cody whips but Tama reverses, Cody evades but still gets the splash on the other end!
Tama stalks Cody, then rocks him with an uppercut. He whips Cody to ropes but Cody evades, Brandi bails Cody out. She then holds Tama off while Scurll gets a sneak attack on Loa! Scurll comes over, and apron SUPERKICK! Tama goes down and Scurll wants a kiss. Cody kisses him on the cheek, then puts Tama back in the ring.
Cody stomps Tama while fans rally. He drags Tama up in an arm wrench then tags to Scurll. Scurll throws hands then brings Tama down, for a hammerlock stomp! Tama writhes in pain but Scurll keeps on that arm with another hammerlock stomp. Scurll drags Tama up, Cody tags in and they mug Tama in the corner. Cody drags Tama up for a suplex, and holds him up for a good ten seconds before dropping him on his face.
Cody does push ups to show off, Tama sweeps his arms, Cody kicks Tama then tags to Scurll. Scurll hits Loa before stomping Tama’s arm. Scurll drags Tama up but Tama hts back. Tama runs but fall sfor the fake, Scurll mule kicks his legs out. Scurll calls for it, the fans fire up for it, he spins for it, “CHICKENWING” but Cody tags in. Cross- No, Tama reverses and steals the Cross Rhodes! Both men are down while fans rally, and Tama tags Loa. Loa tanks the chops, but realizes it’s the padding. He unzips and lets Cody go to town on him, but it still doesn’t slow Loa down. Loa rallies with lariats, then whips Cody into the hip toss neckbreaker. Scurll runs in, gest the Samoan Drop! Loa drags Cody up, but Cody slips out of the back suplex to springboard for the Disaster Kick!
Cody climbs up top, Tama stops him with a SUPER PUNCH! Tama climbs up, SUPERPLEX! But that’s not all, Tama climbs up top now, but Scurll rocks him. Scurll climbs up, SUPERPLEX of his own! The fans applaud and Scurll fires himself up. Marty climbs up but Loa intercepts him, for a SUPERPLEX! Scurll and Loa both slip out of the ring, and Cody stands up to hit the Terminator Pose. Fans boo as he copies Kenny Omega, then builds speed, only to run into a SPEAR from Loa! Loa covers, Scurll breaks it. Scurll mule kicks Loa then helps Cody up. They bring Loa up, Cody catches Tama, and then double kicks to complete shot! They return to Loa, but Loa shoves Scurll at Cody. Scurll stops himself, Cody catches Loa, but Loa dodges to let Scurll hit Cody.
Loa catches Scurll, Scurll backs Loa up, Tama runs in but Scurll dodges. Scurll thinks Loa and Tama collide, but Loa catches his brother and gently sets him down. Loa tackles Scurll to a corner and Tama hits a big splash! Tama sees Cody coming, they run around, dropkick from Tama knocks Cody down. Loa returns, fireman’s carry, but Cody slips out and the GoD collide. Cody grabs Loa, Cross Rhodes! Cover, Cody & Scurll win!
Winners: The Bullet Club (Cody & Scurll, Cody pins)
The civil war rages on but that’s one battle in favor of the American Nightmare. Will #TeamCody rack up enough victories to establish himself atop the entire faction?
8 Man Tag: Dragon Lee & Taguchi Japan VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!
This match showcases the relationship of NJPW and their other partner, CMLL, as stars of Japan and Mexico team together to determine faction supremacy. Can Naito lead Bushi, Sanada and Hiromu to victory over Funky Weapon, the Time Splitter, the Ace and The Wonder Boy?
Fans are excited for just about everyone in this match, but it is Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito starting. The fans are thunderous for this IWGP Intercontinental Championship rematch, dueling evenly between the two. Naito and Tanahashi circle, but then Sanada comes in and clobbers Tanahashi. He and Naito both stomp Tanahashi, but then Tanahashi fights back. It’s 2v1 so it doesn’t work. Sanada holds Tanahashi, then Naito spits on him. Naito runs but Tanahashi sends him into Sanada, then throws them both with the headlock-headscissors. Tanahashi tags Dragon Lee but Naito gets away. The fans want Hiromu, and so does Lee! Naito gives fans what they want, tag to Naito. the CMLL rivalry reignites with furious chops back and forth! And it doesn’t slow down! The fans give a standing ovation for this endless chop fight.
Back and forth, back and forth, neither man gives in. Lee gets an edge, then whips but Hiromu reverses. Things speed up, Hiromu headscissors but Lee lands on his feet! They go again, rebound German from Lee to Hiromu! Lee runs and FLIES! He takes out Hiromu, then drags him back in for stomps. Lee kicks something away, then flips off LIJ before all of Taguchi Japan attacks them! They whip Hiromu, then start a train. Taguchi rallies his men for the train as it goes Kushida, Lee and Tanahashi! Taguchi feels good now, they feed Hiromu to his hip attack. Kushida Mahistrols, TWO! Things calm down and Kushida puts Hiromu in an armlock. He shifts to a double chickenwing with a bridge for Cow Mutilation. It becomes a backslide, TWO, but Kushida keeps on Hiromu with an arm wrench and shoulder breaker.
Hiromu gest to a corner and doges, Naito dropkicks the legs and Sanada dropkicks the head. Bushi and Naiot take out Taguchi Japan and then Hiromu keeps on Kushida. Hiromu grinds a boot into Kushida’s throat, then backs off at the count. He brings Kushida into a corner, tags to Bushi. Naito holds Kushida for Bushi’s missile dropkick, Bushi-rooni stands him back up. Tag to Sanada, who drags Kushida up and whips corner to corner. Kushida tries to boot but Sanada blocks and brings Kushida into the Paradise Lock! Fans cheer as Sanada backs up, and dropkicks Kushida out of paradise. Tag back to Bushi, who drags Kushida into a chinlock. The fans rally for Kushida, Kushida fights out, but Bushi uses his shirt as a weapon! Bushi chokes Kushida until the referee sees him. Bushi lets go, then goes after Taguchi Japan. Kushida arm-drags and dropkicks Bushi back!
Kushida crawls to his corner but no one is home. Sanada tags in and brings Kushida up for a whip. Kushida handpsrings and back elbows Sanada, both men go down! The fans rally as Tanahashi returns. Kushida sees him and tags! The Ace rallies on Sanada, then Bushi, then hits Hiromu and Naito. He keeps going, crossbody on Sanada! Hiromu comes in, he and Bushi whip but Tanahashi fights them off. Tanahashi catches both kicks and double dragon screws them away! He then runs, but Sanada dodges. he goes from crossbody to dragon sleeper, but Tanahashi manages to turn it around on him! Sanada breaks out, whips, but Tanahashi reverses. Sanada tumbles to the apron, then springboard missile dropkcisk back in!
Both men are down, and now Naito and Taguchi himself are there. The fans rally, hot tags to Naito and Taguchi! Taguchi rallies with hip attacks all over the place. He hits Naito again and again, then whips to ropes. Naito reverses but Taguchi does it back, into the drop toehold and ankle lock! Kushida comes in, Bushi sunset flips but Kushida gets him into the Hoverboard! Sanada runs in, Tanahashi dropkicks him down for the Texas Cloverleaf! Three submissions side by side but Hiromu breaks them all!
Lee takes Hiromu out, and whips him to barriers! Taguchi and Naito keep fighting, Taguchi goes for a hip attack but Naito dodges. Naito enziguris, runs, but Taguchi rolls to the ankle lock again! He keeps Naito from ropes, but Sanada come sin for the dragon sleeper. Tanahashi runs, Slingblade! Bushi code breaker, but then Kushida the fast ball! Hiromu lariats, Lee bicycle boots, then runs, but overhead suplex into the buckles! Naito atomic drop, SUPERKICK to jackknife, TWO. Naito calls for it, hits Destino! Cover, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Naito pins)
LIJ were tranquilo the entire time, and come out the victors. With such charismatic and chaotic unity, will the Ungovernable rule over all of NJPW in the near future?
Rey Mysterio is here!
Though he’s injured, the King of Lucha still appears for the match he wanted with another living legend in Junior Heavyweight wrestling. And he told himself that he’d come out to apologize, because it’s unfortunate that he tore his bicep. The match meant for him and Liger won’t happen, but that doesn’t mean it’ll never happen. Mysterio respects Liger too much for it not to. He promises to check this off his bucket list, so as soon as he can, he’ll return and wrestle for NJPW. The fans like the sound of that, and Mysterio gives a “Booyaka from the 619 to the 562!”
Jyushin Thunder Liger VS Will Ospreay!
Injuries or not, the show must go on. Liger may not get the King of Lucha, but he will get the Aerial Assassin of the UK. Can the current IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion best one of the best in Jr. Heavyweight wrestling ever?
The bell rings and they furious tie up. Liger gets the wristlock, then the takedown, and puts Ospreay in a seated surfboard! He rocks back and gets Ospreay up for the chinlock variant! Ospreay endures, Liger lets go, and prepares the surfboard proper. Liger hoists Opsreay up for the full Mexican Surfboard! Ospreay pops out of it again, but Liger chops away on him. Liger wrenches the arm then whips corner to corner, but Ospreay jumps up and over. Ospreay uppercuts, then runs corner to corner for the hesitation dropkick! Ospreay stalks Liger, then drags him up for another EuroUpper. The fans rally while Ospreay knocks Liger down, and Ospreay turns Liger around for a hammerlock and recliner! Liger gets the ropebreak, so Ospreay lets him go.
Ospreay drags Liger up while the fans sing for him, and puts Liger in a chinlock. Liger endures, stands up and fights out. Ospreay kicks back then whips but Liger reverses. Liger dodges the handspring and hits Ospreay with a backbreaker. Then from the apron, a cannonball flattens Ospreay down! The fans fire up as Liger drags Ospreay up. They go around the railing to the entrance way, brainbuster from Liger to Ospreay! Liger returns to the ring and leaves Ospreay out there, to then pose and embrace the cheers. Ospreay is okay to compete, somehow, but is at the mercy of the 20 count. The count gets to 10 before Ospreay stirs. Ospreay hears the count hit 15, but crawls. At 19, he full sprints to beat the count at 19.5!
Liger is on Ospreay with a BIG corner Shotei, then the Liger Bomb! Cover, TWO, but Liger keeps his cool. He drags Ospreay back up and puts him on the top rope. Liger climbs up, and “OSU”, SUPER Steiner, that Ospreay lands on his feet! His legs jam, yet he still hits a handspring PELE! Liger rolls out, Ospreay hobbles but still builds speed, to FLY! The Sasuke Special hits, but Ospreay takes a moment to recover his breath and the feeling in his leg. He hops over to Liger to put him back in the ring at 7. Ospreay takes aim from a corner, the fans build to a rally, and he springboards for the clothesline! Then standing shooting star, TWO!
Ospreay keeps his cool, and drags Liger up in the dragon sleeper. Liger slips around but Ospreay gets around for the dropkick. Liger’s on the ropes, and maybe… Ospreay calls for it, runs, and 619- No, Liger ducks it! He kicks low and counters the flip kick with the rolling kick. Liger runs, into Spanish Fly! Cover, TWO! Ospreay takes aim at Liger from a corner while the fans build to a rally. Robinson Special spinning kick! He isn’t done there, he springboards, OsCutter blocked to another brainbuster! Cover, TWO! Liger won’t slow down, he says it’s over. He drags Ospreay up onto the top rope, then climbs up with him. Liger positions this, for a SUPER BRAINBUSTER!
Ospreay is dazed but Liger can’t make the cover right away. Liger crawls over, ropebreak! It’s all Ospreay could do to survive, but Liger keeps calm.
Liger stands up and calls for it, but Ospreay ducks the Shotei. Hook kick, but SHOTEI on the run! High stack cover, TWO!! And Liger can’t believe it. He just fires up and calls for another. Ospreay counters into a POWERBOMB! TWO!! Ospreay keeps going, buzzsaw to mule kick to OSCUTTER! Cover, Ospreay wins!
Winner: Will Ospreay
The champion proves he’s better than even a legend! He has the respect of Liger, as well as Mysterio. Can the Aerial Assassin carry the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Division to even higher heights?
“Junior Heavyweight wrestling at its best, folks.” Ospreay hopes that when he’s 53, he can still wrestle like Liger. For everything the past, present and future Liger has done, Ospreay cannot thank him enough. The fans agree as they chant “Liger! Liger!” Ospreay knows that he wants to carve out his own legacy. To do that, Ospreay must go through legends. He looks right at Mysterio. Fans can boo, fans can cheer, but Ospreay is no replacement! He is THE Jr. Heavyweight Champion, and “consistently for six years”, he’s been putting on “the damn best wrestling matches” possible! Ospreay will put the title on a new level, so he wants OSPREAY VS MYSTERIO!! And so do the fans! Once Mysterio is healed, let’s do this.
But then Scurll attacks! The Villain smacks his familiar foe, but then Mysterio gets in the ring. Scurll snatches the mask! And puts it on to mock both him, Ospreay, and every fan watching.
Scurll stomps Mysterio but Liger runs him off. The Villain sent his own message to the champion and the legends, when will Scurll get his taste of the title? Mysterio shakes Liger’s hand, and then Ospreay’s. When will these two different yet both equally amazing matches happen?
Chaos’ Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii VS Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr!
The IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the Stone Pitbull take on Undisputed British Tag Team Champions, as well as the IWGP Intercontinental Champion and 2018 New Japan Cup winner. It is such a star-studded match, will Chaos make it rain? Or will Suzuki and ZSJ make them feel the pain?
After all the belts are put away, ZSJ talks it out with Suzuki and will start against Okada. The bell rings, the two circle but fans are on Okada’s side. ZSJ backs him up and gets the waistlock, but Okada reverses. ZSJ slips away and fans applaud. They tie up again, ZSJ gest around again to a roll and float over to put Okada in a modified headscissors. Okada pops out but ZSJ is ready, and they separate. ZSJ teases Okada as he backs up to a corner.
They circle again, ZSJ gets the hands and bends Okada’s arms back. He digs a fist and elbow into the spine then stands Okada up. Okada tries to power through but ZSJ keeps control of the arms and shoulders. Okada tries again and gets the reverseal! He bends and wrenches ZSJ now, but ZSJ works to turn it back around. No go, Okada wrenches deeper.
ZSJ gives it another go, but Okada turns it all the way through, so ZSJ flisp and kicks. Okada swings him out, ZSJ barely avoids The Rainmaker itself. ZSJ backs to a corner, and Minoru calls him over. Minoru tags in, Ishii tags in. The two toughest men get in each other’s face, then throw forearms! They dare each other to hit harder, and they do! Back and forth they go, neither man backing down. Forearm after forearm, but Suzuki finally gets an edge. He whips but Ishii dodges to run him over! Suzuki boots him away then catches him in the ropes for the hanging armbar! ZSJ gets a cheap shot on Okada, and then Suzuki drags Ishii out. ZSJ flips everyone off as he puts Okada in an abdominal stretch while Suzuki puts Ishii into barriers.
The referee tries to get control but no go, Suzuki has a chair and SMACKS Ishii with it. Suzuki keeps going, putting Ishii into the crowd. He pursues and they fight among the fans. ZSJ EuroUppers Okada on the other end, and laces Okada’s arm through the railings. ZSJ kicks the railing to jam Okada’s arm, then Suzuki comes over to add on a chop. The 20 count is at 10 before Ishii and Suzuki return to the ring, but they keep going. Ishii chops and chops but Suzuki doesn’t seem bothered by them at all. Suzuki laughs and encourages him to chop more, then chops Ishii right back! ZSJ holds Ishii by the nose as Suzuki mugs him.
Tag to ZSJ, and he brings Ishii to a Fujiwara armbar. Okada comes in but that allows Suzuki to get an Ankle lock! Then they switch around! They both Fujiwara and crossface Ishii!
Suzuki gets away without a trace, and ZSJ stands on Ishii’s legs and knees in a figure four.
The fans duel, ZSJ tags to Suzuki. Suzuki mugs Ishii, then snapmares to boot Okada! He returns to Ishii and puts him in a kneebar! Ishii flails as Suzuki heel-hooks it, but manages the ropebreak. Suzuki lets go at 4, then goes at Ishii more. Ishii eggs him on, so Suzuki stomps him out for it. Suzuki slaps Ishii over and over, Ishii slaps back. Suzuki headbutts Ishii then tags ZSJ. ZSJ takes his time as he toys with Ishii’s bad leg. Ishii endures the toying kicks, then fires up. ZSJ kicks harder but Ishii is sturdier than that! He catches a kick, waistlock but ZSJ elbows out. He tries a drop toehold but Ishii deadlifts for the German Suplex!
Okada is back, Ishii tags him in! Okada rallies, even booting Suzuki down for good measure. He runs ZSJ over, then whips him corner to corner. Okada back elbows then DDT’s ZSJ, covers, TWO! He brings ZSJ up, but ZSJ slips out for the front choke. Okada elbows, ZSJ EuroUppers. ZSJ runs in, but Okada catches him, reverse neckbreaker becomes an Octopus! ZSJ brings Okada to the floor, Suzuki intercepts Ishii. Okada gets a ropebreak so ZSJ lets go. ZSJ brings Okada up for the full nelson but Okada slips out. ZSJ slips back around, back to the Octopus. Suzuki keeps Ishii out of the ring, but Okada breaks out into the Tombstone, only for ZSJ to slip to the Hoverboard! He brings Okada to the mat for a Coil Lock and stretches that other arm! Ishii busts in to break the hold!
Suzuki hits Ishii again, then returns to his corner. Fans rally while ZSJ stalks Okada. He stomps Okada, drags him up, and hits him with another EuroUpper. ZSJ toys with Okada more, but Okada hits him with a forearm. ZSJ hits another EuroUpper, and fans duel as the two brawl. Okada forearms, ZSJ EuroUppers, ZSJ runs but Okada hip tosses! Okada cobra clutch but ZSJ breaks out for another EuroUpper. He tries another EuroUpper but Okada backslides it to the Rain- No, ZSJ blocks to kick to the arm! Tag to Suzuki, and now Suzuki goes after the arm. He kicks it, and brings Okada to Sleeper, piledriver, but Okada reverses into the reverse neckbreaker! Both men are down but the fans are applauding, hot tag to Ishii.
Ishii goes after Suzuki with chops, forearms and back to chops. He doesn’t stop, but Suzuki dares him to hit harder. Ishii does, then whips Suzuki corner to corner, but Suzuki botos him back. They brawl again, ferocious as bfore, and the fans love it. Ishii dares Suzuki to keep hitting him, so Suzuki winds up for a stiff one! Somehow Ishii shakes it off, and gives one back. Suzuki stays standing somehow, to load up and hit another. Ishii staggers, is he out? No, he shakes it off again, and the fans fire up! Ishii winds up to hit Suzuki, who staggers back but stays standing. Suzuki puts some stank on this next one, and Ishii staggers again.
Suzuki keeps going, not giving Ishii his turn. He then runs, but into Ishii’s shot. Suzuki resists the suplex, then guillotines, but Ishii suplexes him! The two get up, speed up, Suzuki the sleeper but Ishii breaks out, to run into the kitchen sink! Tag to ZSJ, ZSJ clocks Okada, and then takes his time with Ishii. He drags Ishii up, corner to corner wip, then runs in for teh EuroUpper. Suzuki adds his boot, then snapmare for the double Penalty Kick. Cover, but Okada breaks it! Suzuki throws Okada out, then follows to clobber the champ. ZSJ stalks Ishii, waiting for him to stand. The Penalty Kick is caught, HEADBUTT! Ishii still has life as he powerbombs ZSJ! TWO, and Okada fights off Suzuki on the outside.
ZSJ goes after Ishii with another guillotine, and Ishii fades. He powers out, Okada is there to feed ZSJ to a forearm. Okada dropkicks ZSJ, then dropkicks him again, and Ishii adds the lariat. Suzuki barrels in to break the cover just in time. Okada throws Suzuki out but Suzuki drags him out, too. ZSJ EuroUppers Ishii but Ishii swats that kick away. Ishii runs, but ZSJ grabs him into the Octopus! The takedown to the cross armbreaker, and Okada is too busy with Suzuki’s sleeper! ZSJ shifts around to a modified ankle lock while Suzuki kneebars Okada. Ishii reaches but ZSJ grabs that free arm. Napalm Death is in! Ishii quits, Suzuki-Gun wins!
Winners: Suzuki-Gun (Suzuki & Sabre Jr, Sabre with the submission)
But the torture doesn’t end here! ZSJ puts Okada in the Octopus! He doesn’t care about ringing bells or respect, he just wants to make the IWGP Heavyweight Champion suffer. Then Suzuki goes after the referee, they wristlock and ankle lock for Double Hell!
The Meanest Man in the World and his young protege show no mercy to anyone. Will either man show remorse as they take on Chaos’ Rainmaker and Pitbull in 1v1 action?
July 7th, 2018, NJPW WILL return to the United States! The G1 Special’s second year will hit the Cow Palace, in Fighting Spirit Unleashed!
IWGP United States Championship: Jay White VS Hangman Page!
The Switchblade is only the second man ever to hold NJPW’s newest title. And he did it by playing a long game against the Cleaner: he got Omega’s attention as a prospective Club member; then betrayed him upon the offer. Omega may have underestimated White while seeking revenge, because somehow, someway, White won in the end.
However, the Problem Solver wouldn’t let anyone ignore his win streak, and got in White’s face. Page wants that title more than anyone has wanted anything in their life, and now fights to prove himself a star in his own right. Which man will survive when they bring a Switchblade to a gun fight?
The belt is shown, Red Shoes does the weapon check. Both men are clear, and we begin. White taunts Page with a handshake, and this sparks a brawl. White gets chops, Page swings but misses, takes another chop. Page puts White in a corner but Whtie still chosp him. White chops again, Page’s chest is already red. Page revesres the whip but White runs him over. White runs but Page dodges, but whti dodges back, Page boots him down. Page rains down rights, then tells Red Shoes to shut up. Red Shoes won’t be intimidated, so Page suplexes Whiet down. Cover, ONE, but Page keeps his cool. He drags White up but White fights back. Page knees low, runs, but into White’s dropkick. White drags Page up, back suplex back, cover, ONE.
White keeps on Page, going for a leg lock. He puts Page in the Deathlock, then tucks it in, for the Muda Lock! Page endures, and even powers up, but White brings him back down. The fans rally, Page powers up but White rakes the nose and eyes. Page still crawls free of the arms and clubs White away to get the ropebreak. The hold is undone and Page slips out, but White follows to chop him again. White chops Page against the barriers, then follows him around the corner. Page kicks and clubs back to finally give White a chop of his own. Now Page stalks White, but White kicks and chops again. They go back in the ring, White dumps Page to the apron and punches him. Page side steps and knees White, then turns him around for the hotshot neckbreaker to the apron!
White tumbles to the floor, Page drags him up, to throw him into railing! Page grinds a foot into White’s head, but Red Shoes insists they go back into the ring. Page lifts White up, fireman’s carry to long dart White at a post! White goes down in a heap, and Page takes a moment to catch his breath before entering the ring. No Champion’s Advantage on the 20 count, but Page doesn’t want it that easy, either. He puts White in the ring, then kicks him while he’s down. Page pumphandles White up in a deadlift Fall Away bridge! TWO, and Page grows frustrated. The fans rally for Hangman, but White hits back. White EuroUppers then forearms, but Page hits back. Page whips White but White reverses. White jumps but Page catches him into a fireman’s carry and flipping backbreaker! Cover, TWO, and the frustration continues.
Fans rally while Page stalks White. He toys with the champ, wanting White to show him something. White stands up and forearms Page, then chops. Page kicks back, then suplexes White up. White slips out and waistlocks, Page fights him, but White still saido suplexes Page down! The fans rally again while both men stir and stand up. White stalks Page, chops him sharply and again. A third chop, then White whips. Page reverses, White dodges then jumps up to knock Page over with a back elbow. White drags Page up, half-hatch and roll through for another. Another roll through, but Page blocks the third as he backs White to a corner. White pushes out, then throws Page into buckles. He runs back in for a EuroUpper, then suplexes Page into the buckles. Cover, TWO!
White keeps his cool as he stands up and stalks Page. He drags Page up, Fisherman but Page resists. White chops Page, then goes for it again, but Page counters to the small package, TWO! They both clothesline and collide, then stagger. Page swings but White Half ‘n’ Half but Page lands on his feet. Page runs, but into the Complete Shot, followed by the deadlift German Suplex! Bridge, TWO, but White is perhaps too tired to be frustrated. He lifts Page again, but Page slips out, so another chop it is. White whips but Page holds ropes. He chops Page again, then whips but Page reverses to a fireman’s, to hang White up, hanging DDT!
The fans rally again as both men slowly stir. Page slips to the outside, and takes aim from the apron. He punches White away, but not far enough so he hits him again. White staggers, Page wants to slingshot but still has to clobber White. Page hits him again to send him back, then slingshots, into a forearm from White! White brings Page through the ropes for yet another chop, and another EuroUpper. Another chop, and another chop, and Page’s chest is very red. One more chop, and Page falls to the apron.
White goes out to join him, then drags him up, preparing his finisher from up there. Page resists with all his might, fighting White off. Both men sway, Page swings but into the apron Compete Shot! White has the cameras move back as he gets back up, deadlift snap German suplex to the apron!
Fans lose their minds over it while Page slumps to the floor.
White shows no remorse as he drags Page back up and into the ring. He drags Page up backwards onto the top rope. White climbs up, prepares a waistlock, but Page holds on for dear life. White clubs away, but Page won’t let go. Page fights White off, then turns around. They brawl on the top rope with haymakers, then chops. Page eggs White on, and White responds. Page gets the edge with elbows to White’s head. He stands up on the top rope, SUPER SWINGING NECKBREAKER!!
Both men are down from that impact, but Page crawls to a cover, TWO! White slowly stirs, but Page is already staring him down. They brawl on their knees, and White even laughs. The brawl continues as the two make it to their feet. They fire up and fire off faster forearms. Page gets the edge, but White gets another chop. White runs but into a forearm. Page tries to bulldog but White back suplexes Page up and out of the ring! White keeps going, he saido suplexes Page to the floor! White touches his title before dragging Page back up and into the ring. He stalks Page while the fans rally. White drags Page up, for another saido suplex! Page stands up, and fights against another attempt, but White still saido suplexes. White calls for the end, brings him up but Page slips out. Page tilt-o-whirls to the powerbomb!
Page drags White up with the fans rallying. He lifts White, for the PILEDRIVER! Cover, TWO, and Page seems at a loss. He goes to a corner, and climbs up top… MOONSAULT but lands on his feet as White evades. Page goes to the apron, Shooting Star Press tackles White down! Page climbs up again, the fans rallying, SUPER MOONSAULT!! He wipes White out again, then puts him back in the ring. Page takes off the elbow pad, takes aim from the apron, slingshot for the Buck Shot! TWO! Page can’t believe it, but the fans love it as they duel for both men.
Hangman stands up and brings White up in position. White resists, clubs Page but Page tries a gain. Sunset flip, high stack, TWO. White body shots and strike fest, Half Nelson suplex! He keeps going, wanting the fisherman. He gets Page up, Kiwi Crusher! TWO! It was just enough, but WHite won’t let that slow him down. He brings Page up, Page SPITS in White’s face. White turns around, into a SUPERKICK! Then the roaring elbow! RITE OF- No, BLADE RUNNER!! Cover, White wins!
Winner: Jay White (retains IWGP United States Championship)
The Switchblade is still the second-ever IWGP USC as he successfully defends his title. White celebrates, but not for long! He gets a SPEAR from David Finlay! The former tag team partner of White sarcastically presents the winner to the fans, but about that. Finlay told White they would never be done fighting, so White has one month. On April 24th, Finlay wants his match! The Son of the Man Who Loves to Fight wants a big title fight in Korakuen Hall, will he get one over on his former friend?
Golden☆Lovers VS The Young Bucks!
The #GoldenReunion at Honor Rising was a success, but Matt & Nick Jackson took offense to Kenny Omega’s claims. The REAL greatest tag team in wrestling today might be decided right here, in a true dream match! The Elite were friends, can they still be friends after this?
Matt keeps Nick back while the fans duel. The teams keep cool as Kota Ibushi and Matt start. Fans still chant for “The! Elite! The the Elite!” as Matt says, “I want Kenny!” Kota considers it as the fans chant for Kenny Omega, and the tag is made. Omega comes in and tries to talk with Matt, but Matt just smirks. Matt eggs Omega on, choose your other friend over him again. Matt sucker punches Kota, and fans boo while Matt tags out to Nick. Omega isn’t sure what to make of this, so he tags Kota in. Kota and Nick circle while the fans duel again. They tie up, Nick gets the headlock, but Koata powers out. Things speed up, Nick dodges the kicks and moonsault, and fans are fired up.
Kota and Nick circle again as fans chant “Ibushi! Ibushi!” They tie up, Nick goes to kick but Kota blocks, Nick blocks a kick but Kota hits the next two. Nick tags Matt, Matt gets kicked in that bad back! Matt slumps to the ground while Kota stomps and stomps, but Omega comes in to back Kota off? Omega is torn between friends, but Matt still shoves Omega down! Kota kicks Matt, so Nick comes in and kicks both Golden Lovers. Nick runs, but into double back elbows. The Golden Lovers go after Matt, double whip and double leap frog. Matt stops himself and throws Omega out. He kicks Kota, Nick comes in for a kick and facebuster, then neckbreaker backbreaker! Double hip toss and dropkicks for Omega, the fans fire up for The Bucks!
Matt wrecks Kota with a dropkick, then holds the ropes open, but Omega intercepts Nick to flapjack him onto Matt’s groin! Matt goes down with more than a sore back, and Nick ends up out there with him. Omega goes Terminator and the drums start up. He rises, builds speed, but Nick SUPERKICKS Omega mid-flight!
Omega crashes down, his feathers flying. The Bucks work together, to acrobatically somersault onto the Golden Lovers! Nick puts Kota in the ring while Matt checks under the ring. Nick leg drops on Kota, Matt keeps exploring. Matt finds a TABLE!
Matt makes Omega look at it, the stakes are raised because of The Cleaner. The Bucks dispute what to do, but Matt says it’ll be fine. Omega staggers while Nick keeps on Kota in a corner. Nick whips corner to corner hard, and Kota goes down. Nick brings Kota back up, whips him again, but Kota fights back. Kota tries to boot but Nick spins him around for the draping neckbreaker, and holds it for Matt to slingshot senton on! Nick bumps Kota off the buckle, then tags Matt. Matt whips Kota into the corner, but Kota dodges! Matt hits Nick, Kota kicks Matt in the back! Kota runs, hops up, then over to the other side to jump on Nick!
Fans cheer as Kota slowly enters the ring. He heads for his corner, but Matt grabs his foot. Kota forearms Matt, then keeps crawling, but Nick trips Omega off the apron! Matt drags Kota up again, and puts one out on him, to powerbomb lift. Buckle bomb kick combo! But Matt’s back slows him down again. Nick tells him to cover, he does, Omega breaks it.
Omega coaches Kota up, but Matt is upon him again. Fans rally as Kota kicks Matt away. Kota crawls, but Matt yanks him away. Matt runs, but into the dropkick! Both men are down, and crawl for their corners. Hot tag to Omega! Omega climbs up, and crossbodies on Matt! He rallies on Nick, then swings. Nick dodges and whips, but Omega reverses, only for Nick to reverse into a back elbow. Nick sees Kota coming and stops him with a kick. Matt comes in to alley-oop Nick for the headscissors. Omega hits Nick but Matt handsprings. Kota intercepts Nick with a missile dropkick, then kicks Matt in the back again! Omega enters and Golden Lovers target Nick. They double whip and leap frog, roundhouse to leap frog bulldog! Nick gets out of the ring, and the fans sense what’s coming. Golden Lovers go to corners, run and CROSS SLASH!
Matt stays up but Kota throws Matt to the floor mats. Omega goes over to help Kota and they pursue Matt in the ring. Fireman’s carry, rolling senton, shooting star and both moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Golden Lovers keep going, bringing Matt up to go after his back. Omega ax handles Matt down, then stomps him. Matt asks if that feels good for Kenny to do! Omega doesn’t respond, he just puts Matt in a corner. He whips corner to corner hard, and Nick is worried for his brother. Kota tags in and keeps on Matt’s bad back. Matt grits his teeth and spits in Kota’s face. Kota forearms Matt again and again, then brings him over to tag in Omega. Omega brings Matt up, running backbreaker! Matt screams in pain, and the time warning is given.
Omega brings Matt back, tags in Kota, and Kota snapmares to a chinlock. The fans still duel while Matt endures, and another rally begins. Matt stands up and fights back, then runs to trip Omega up. He shoulders into Kota, slips under, but Kota keeps him from getting to Nick. Kota whips, Matt slips out, but Omega has him with an apron back suplex! Kota drags Matt up, but Matt sips out of the back suplex. Hot tag to Nick!
Nick kicks and elbows on the Golden Lovers, then clotheslines Omega to bulldog-clothesline them both! The fans fire up as Nick puts Kota in a corner. Omega saves Kota and chops Nick. He whips but Nick reverses. Omega goes up and over, headscissors but Nick rolls through to backstabber Kota! Matt baits Omega and dumps him out, for Nick to DIVE! They keep going, Shining Wizard to Kota, assisted Sliced Bread and another Shining Wizard! Cover, TWO!
The Bucks are tired and sore but not frustrated just yet. Nick drags Kota around while fans rally. He climbs up, but Matt tags in. They get an idea, and Matt climbs up to join Nick. The Bucks aim but Kota goes after them both. He dumps Nick down then goes after Matt. Matt resists and fights back, but Omega comes over to help. The Golden Lovers DOUBLE SUPERPLEX!!
Everyone is down but stirring. The Golden Lovers decide on their next move, and drag Matt over to an open corner. Fans fire up as they sense what’s coming. The Golden Lovers climb up together, but Nick trips them up! Matt throws Kota down while Nick German Suplexes Omega to the apron!
Nick brings that table over, turning it into a bridge between ring and barriers. He bumps Omega off it, and Matt climbs up. Matt aims at Kota, but Nick wants him to hit Omega. The Bucks argue out who to hit but Kota springs up to Pele Matt! Matt teeters, Nick gets in and goes at Kota, and clotheslines himself out with Kota! Omega gets up, sees the table and sees Matt, Electric Chair, but Matt fights back furiously! Kota clubs Matt, and springboards up for a SUPER GERMAN SUPLEX!
Cover, TWO!! Somehow Matt survives, and Kota can’t believe it. But he signals to Omega to finish this. The fans declare “This is Awesome!” as the two drag Matt up. The Golden Lovers want the Trigger but Nick drags Omega out. Omega puts Nick into the barriers, and Kota brawls with Matt.
They go back and forth, then Kota unleashes a strike fest. SUPERKICK from Matt! But he runs into a V-Trigger! Kota’s lariat adds on, then lifts up, for the Last Ride sit-out! TWO!? Kota sits Matt up, V-Trigger again! Cover, Nick breaks it! Omega throws Nick out, then tells Kota to go after Matt. Kota stands up and brings Matt up, kicking that bad back again. He keeps kicking, and Omega dumps Nick into the fans. Matt takes another kick and gets in Kota’s face, but Kota snapmares and kicks him more. Matt dodges a kick and gets knees up for the moonsault, then puts on the Sharpshooter! Kota endures but Omega is back, to haymaker Matt until he lets go. “C’mon, Kenny!!” Kenny gives Matt more, Nick SUPERKICKS outta nowhere! The Bucks stand up, Nick FLIES to take Omega out!
Matt goes back to Kota with the Sharpshooter. The fans cheer while Kota endures. Nick slingshots to facebuster, then cartwheels for the tornado DDT on Omega! Matt sinks the hold in deeper, and endures his own bad back as he bends Kota. But the back gives out, Kota is freed. The fans rally once more while Matt crawls to ropes. He’s on the far side from his brother. Matt walks over and tags Nick, they want to finish this. Nick climbs up while Matt brings Kota up. Matt gives haymakers, then fireman’s carry but the back limits him. Nick helps his brother, then hurries to dropkick Omega away again. Matt rolling senton, Nick 450, but the Matt drops the elbow on Omega through the table!!
Fans lose their minds all over again, but Matt grins because that was apparently worth it.
Nick checks on his brother in the wreckage, and helps him back in. Matt stands and brings Kota back up, to hold him up on the ropes. Nick climbs up again, for the draping 450! Cover, TWO!? Frustration sets in as the Bucks are at a loss for what to do. They stand up while the fans duel once again. Kota revives and fights back with haymakers and chops! He takes Nick’s kick, swings it but Matt avoids, and Nick sweeps Kota’s legs for a double SUPERKICK! Omega SUPERKICKS Nick, then goes after Matt. Matt boots him back but Omega shovels Matt onto his shoulders. Matt slips out, SUPERKICK from Nick, SUPERKICK from Matt! Kota DOUBLE Peles the Bucks! Everyone is down but the fans are thunderous! At this point, the fans hope they “Fight Forever!”
Omega and Matt somehow stand, and they brawl. They go back and forth, haymaker for haymaker, no signs of slowing. Omega Snap Dragon Suplexes Matt, but Matt is up to PILEDRIVER Omega! Matt stands up first and takes off that weight belt, to SMACK Omega with it! SMACK, then SMACK for Kota. Red Shoes tries but fails to stop Matt. Matt swings, Omega ducks and hits him in the back again. Omega takes that belt in his own hand, and throws it away. He V-Triggers Matt point blank, then again. Omega double guns, but Matt SPEARS! Matt drags Omega up and Nick is there. Matt can’t lift Omega, that bad back is stopping him. Nick kicks Kota away and helps Matt get Omega for the Tombstone, but Kota anchors Nick, to then LAST RIDE THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE DESK!!
Omge reverses the tombstone, Kota flies in for the GOLDEN Indietaker! TWO!? But how?! Omega drags Matt up, Electric Chair and then roundhouse! They’re not done, gut wrench sit-out! TWO, and the Golden Lovers are further shocked. Omega loads up, and though he doesn’t want to, he drags Matt up again. SUPERKICK from Matt! Kota saves Omega and kicks Matt down. Kota says to do it, so “BANG!” V-Trigger!
That won’t be all, he lifts Matt up, but hesitates. Matt shouts for him to do it! ONE WINGED ANGEL!
Cover, Nick breaks it! The fans chant for “New Japan! New Japan!” because this match is that good.
All four men slowly stir, and Nick asks Omega, “What’s your problem?” Nick swears it isn’t over, and begs his brother to get up with him. Kota stands up and tells Omega to finish this. Nick fights them off to protect Matt, haymakers and chops back and forth. He focuses on Kota, but Omega V-Triggers to Kota’s German Suplex! Omega lowers his knee pad as he and Kota drag Matt up. The Golden Lovers take aim, Golden Trigger!
Double cover, The Golden Lovers win!
Winners: The Golden Lovers (Omega & Ibushi)
The victory is theirs, but Omega knows it was at great cost. Whether or not Matt ever recovers, the friendship of The Elite may never come back. And all that aside, will this win lead the Golden Lovers to ascend to the very top of tag team wrestling the world over?
But wait, Cody reappears?
He seems upset with Matt and Nick! Cody seems to be saying something about them having one job to do. Nick tries to back Cody off of Matt, but Cody shoves him down! Matt comes to his brother’s aid, but Cody gets angry. Omega and Kota return to run Cody off! Fans boo the American Nightmare out of the arena, and then Omega turns back to the Bucks. And he offers them a hand. Nick takes it, and then they hug! Omega also goes over to Matt, and offers that same hand. Matt doesn’t accept it. Matt exits the ring, and insists Nick follow. The Bucks leave together, the fractures in Bullet Club still too fresh for healing.
Omega takes a mic, and speaks. “Y’know, sometimes it’s a sad world we live in, where friends have to go to war with one another.” Wars have casualties. This isn’t the usual Kenny Omega. He wishes he could be happy, but there is a silver lining. That is that the Golden Lovers are still back, and here to stay. And before you know it, NJPW will come back to “a backyard near each and every one of you.” Omega assures us, whether NJPW likes it or not, the Golden Lovers will be in a featured match up, because they love to party with the fans. Omega wishes the Bullet Club’s issues could be solved sooner rather than later, but people like Cody only know how to talk. In the end, Omega will beat the “ever-living poop” out of him.
“And if you liked today’s match up, we have no choice but to up the ante” for the Cow Palace! “And so with that”, the banged up Omega and Ibushi wish us ado. “Good bye and good night, BANG!” If this is only the beginning, how monumental will the next NJPW event in America be?!
Hot damn was this a good night of wrestling. Leaving commercials out during matches was a smart move, no sense in breaking up the action with ads and no one misses any action, live audience or at home watching. The matches were all top quality, and some were perhaps even perfect given the stories. Great crossover in RPG3K VS SCU, and while Sho & Yo want the regular tag titles back, this win could also position RPG3K for trios titles in both ROH and NJPW. Robinson & Finlay winning is great for both of them, but we both know now that Finlay also wants singles gold against Jay White. Naturally KES defeat Yano & Chuckie T, mostly because they’re just that big and mean and on a roll. If they’re calling out Chaos’ Briscoes, that will be a great match for the aggression alone.
Cody continues to be a brilliant Heel in the story of “Bullet Club is (Not) Fine”, and it just gets better the more members of Bullet Club are brought into it. Naturally he fails to recruit the Guerillas to his side, they’re likely to be on their own side if it came to it. Cody still wins, though, to keep himself strong ahead of his ROH Supercard of Honor match with Omega to settle the first phase of this massive story. There was so much history in the Taguchi VS LIJ match, it really showcases the partnerships of NJPW, ROH & CMLL. As I said for Honor Rising, LIJ is growing into the faction to watch.
Ospreay VS Liger was great for being a true impromptu match, and NJPW even brilliantly weaves it into Ospreay’s own mission. Ospreay VS Mysterio, Mysterio VS Liger, Ospreay VS Scurll Nth time around, all are going to be great matches to elevate the Jr. Heavyweight title as well as Ospreay himself. Suzuki & ZSJ were brutal to Okada & Ishii, that match perfectly sets up the two separate singles title feuds. ZSJ’s new attitude is so great to make him the Heel against Okada, and Suzuki VS Ishii will truly be an example of iron sharpens iron. And speaking of, wow did Page VS White do the same. Those two will help push NJPW & ROH forward, and then Finlay going after White will also bring up the US title. Page still has his place in the Bullet Club story, so he’ll be fine even in losing.
Golden Lovers VS Young Bucks just raised the bar on any and every kind of match any and all companies put on for big events from this point forward. The Bullet Club story is compounded with the tag team superiority aspect, and it just kept going like they really were going to #FightForever. Matt’s bad back on top of the conflict in Omega’s heart really gave this match a unique story, but Golden Lovers win because their reunion can’t be weakened just yet. Plus, Cody shows up to add on another helping of the Bullet Club story. The uncertainty is so great for everyone involved, especially the fans. I can’t wait to see how they top all of this, if that’s even possible.
My Score: 9/10
Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)
And you thought last week was big!
205 Live doubles down on historic matches!
Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!
- Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
- Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.
PLAY BY PLAY
205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.
It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.
The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!
How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?
The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!
Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!
Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!
Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!
Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!
The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?
The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!
Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.
Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.
Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!
Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!
Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!
Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?
A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.
Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)
Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?
Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!
SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!
- Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
- Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
- Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
- Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
- Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roman Reigns heads to the ring!
The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.
But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!
But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.
But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.
Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?
Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.
Sami Zayn heads to the ring!
He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?
SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!
Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!
The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?
As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.
Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.
Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!
Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!
Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall
Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?
Billie finds the Squad backstage.
She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?
Daniel Bryan is here!
And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!
“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!
Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!
The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?
Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!
SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!
Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”
Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?
Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!
It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?
SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!
Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!
Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission
Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?
Roman Reigns sits in his private room.
Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!
Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!
Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.
Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!
Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!
Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)
And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?
Kevin Owens speaks.
“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.
And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.
But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.
The Street Profits have a basket.
Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!
Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?
Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!
The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?
SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!
But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?
Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!
Winner: Bianca Belair
Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.
Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.
Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?
Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!
SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.
Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?
Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!
Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?
Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?
Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!
Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!
Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!
Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?
A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.
But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.
The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.
Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.
And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.
My Score: 8.5/10
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